Is the Shopping Environment Positive?

6 Strategic Goals for Customer Experience Management - Opinionmeter

Part 5 of our series on Goals for CX Management

The environment, physical or digital, is critical to human experiences. Therefore, it is important to design or stage experiences that influence all the human senses. Those organizations that have the ability to create a ‘sensory’ environment will have greater influence on customer behavior. This is established practice in some consumer industries, such as food, cosmetics, and hospitality.

Over the past few years, much of the research has centered on “embodied cognitions” – to create better perceptions of products and services, marketers have been experimenting with appeals to our five human senses in interesting and, sometimes, surprising ways.


Even a potato chip has the properties of sound (crunching), smell, taste, sight (packaging) and touch. Creating an environment of sensory appeal is essential for staging positive experiences. Even in a digital web journey, a sense of ‘taste’ can be created with appropriate language and visuals. Online florists can create powerful emotional connections by using language such as “fresh aromas and vibrant colors…” instead of “beautiful flowers…”

Supermarkets have introduced smell in their physical stores to increase sales; the scent in Nike stores has increased the propensity to spend. The color scheme, space configuration sand furniture design in the Cleveland Metropolitan Library has created more readers. Williams and Ackerman provide ample evidence of the value of the sensory strategy. Bed Bath & Beyond, for example, designs customer journeys to “feel” their way through curtains, linens, and other home furnishings, thereby creating warmth. Whole Foods is another retailer highlighting organic feel by offering taste stations throughout their stores. Consumers touch and taste foods to build trust for their products. Williams and Ackerman further report that people would pay 43% more for a product that they felt was warm to their touch; people offered less for a car when they sat on hard chairs as opposed to soft ones.

The evidence is compelling and suggests that creating or staging a memorable experience through the senses is itself an innovative journey, and one that all customer experience professionals should adopt.

This post was created by Mohamed Latib, Ph.D., of CX University–a training organization tailored to provide the on-the-go professional development in the CX discipline–and formerly of Opinionmeter, a company dedicated to helping organizations conduct effective, impactful customer experience programs for over 20 years. To learn more about CX University, please click here. To learn more about Opinionmeter’s unique mix of technology and best practice guidance, please visit Opinionmeter.com.

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