Why is customer experience so important?
A consumer’s most intimate interaction with a brand occurs the moment they come into contact with anything belonging to your company. It could be a scent, an atmosphere, something that caught their eye, etc. No matter what it may be, it’s a testament to their perception of the brand.
The goal, when someone approaches you, your company or your store, is to ensure that what they experience is no other than precisely that: an experience. (Are we losing you? ) Sure, you can present your product to someone, tell them how great it is and why they should buy it. But what if you show and prove all of these claims to them?
Though often overlooked, customer experience involves more than just the way consumers are treated. It’s a logical and complex game of chess: trying to understand and learn everything the customer is thinking simply by how they respond to things. And it is absolutely crucial to acknowledge its importance in order to best determine how to approach your target. Our marketing and communication agency had to deal with several cases in this domain. Trying as hard as possible to spread the message creating the best atmosphere possible.
Basically, it’s almost like nonverbal communication. Did you know that most experts agree that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal? We have the feeling that everything we say, everything we share is managed by our words, our thoughts and our intelligence. Our posture, our demeanor, our attitude, even our smell says far more than we imagine. All of these things, however, are within your control. So here’s how to go about them.
Sight: Amaze them
Walking into a physical store belonging to a company comes with expectations. Your aesthetic has to match. There has to be a cohesiveness among your ambience in the store and what you represent globally as a brand. The architecture, lighting, color story….. are all imperative in how the customer is going to form an opinion about the company as a whole.
What people see within a store goes beyond what’s in front of their faces. The pink couch you chose instead of the white one to furnish the store could either lure people in or deter them from entering. Every single decision about the look of the store is going to represent your brand identity in multiple ways, so you must choose carefully. That being said, we highly recommend staying away from the palm tree wallpaper. It’s ~ out ~.
If you want to relay a cleaner, more sophisticated vibe, use more modern and minimalist furniture and tonal coloring. If you want a bit of a darker, more moody vibe, use rustic materials and darker colors. Simple as that. However you choose to design your store is completely your prerogative. But keep in mind, it will represent your brand, so decide accordingly. For example, in 2017, Apple started to redesign their stores. They added plants, comfortable sofas, gentle lighting features, and more to entice people to stay longer, and while they’re already in-store, why not listen to a lecture?
Touch: Make each touch count.
Glass tables to highlight the product? Wood tables to provide a more natural, sustainable vibe? Curtains? Carpet? Anything in the store can be, and probably will be (oops) touched by one customer or another.
Let’s take a luxury, high-end store such as Louis Vuitton for example. There’s no denying that just walking in and out of the store is an experience in itself. You are immediately greeted (graciously, may we add) by a staff member, offered water or champagne (who would say no?), and asked about what brought you in that day. Can you say ‘full-service’?
Clients are treated somewhat like royalty. The point is, stores like that take special care when deciding what champagne glasses they will use, what type of encasings the jewelry and accessories will be placed in and what fabrics their couches will be made of. Everything has to feel luxurious. Including the custom water bottle labels.
Smell: The strongest human sense
Thereby making it the most important one to encapsulate. The sense of smell has the most powerful connection to the brain, which is why when you smell something recognizable, memories from the last time you smelled that very scent flood directly to your brain. It can be an incredibly positive experience or a negative one. The scent you choose to represent your brand is majorly consequential.
Stores usually use one of their proprietary scents to fill their stores. This way, the customer will always associate that scent with their brand. whether it be a perfume, candle, room spray, etc., if it smells good, it’s another product to sell and to positively represent your company.
Fashion brands tend to invest in the creation of a custom smell for their retail stores. Zadig & Voltaire was the first company to do so. Their custom, proprietary scent became so popular that they adapted it for men and women as an actual perfume. So, when it comes to selecting a scent for your store or your office, just keep in mind that it will tell something about your brand essence. So floral or oriental?
Taste: use the bliss point in your marketing.
Taste might seem a little tricky or intimidating in this scenario unless what you’re marketing is… food. But let’s think a bit more deeply about this. Take, for example, the ‘Bliss Point’, theorized and proven by world-renowned market researcher Howard Moskowitz. The ‘Bliss Point’ is a point between salty and sweet that creates the perfect balance to keep people coming back for more. Like a piece of cake that is deliciously sweet, but still has a bit of salt in it, so as to not be overly sweet. Without realizing it, this is actually a scientific way to guarantee you go for seconds, thirds, and fourths (don’t be ashamed, it’s science).
So.. What’s our point?
Well, if you’re selling, say, clothes, for example. You want people to feel inclined to come in and buy the latest items that have hit the shelves. However, you don’t want them to buy every single new piece, this would inhibit them from returning for some time. You want them to feel accomplished, but not having spent every penny. That’s the happy medium known as the Bliss Point. Optimize their experience. Tell them you’re getting new pieces or products in the next week that they must come back and see. The catch is that these pieces are already in the back, but you don’t want to overwhelm the customer.
Another example is Dior. A legendary luxury company that focused on fashion, accessories, and makeup since its establishment. However, in recent years, they’ve begun to explore more of the ‘taste’ sense but in a literal way. Dior cafes have started popping up around the globe, much to everyone’s surprise.
It may be a strange idea since they’re not exactly a company with expertise in the culinary industry. But what if we look at it this way: they encountered a gap within their industry and decided to fill it. Few to no companies similar to theirs were attending to the taste sense. So they took the opportunity and attended to the taste sense. Interesting take. Their croissants are delicious, though.
Hearing: make them dance!
Music! Ambiance! These two go hand in hand when curating a desired atmosphere. The language, rhythm, tempo, and beat of the music played throughout your store, on your website, or anywhere else, sets the tone for your brand entirely.
What will it be? Rock? Smooth jazz? Pop? Techno (we hope not)?
If the person entering the vicinity hears calm music, they may feel inclined to stay and enjoy. The same goes for mainstream and/or pop music. If they know the song playing, they would stay. Just like when you’re leaving the club and your favorite song comes on, you run right back in! And if, um, hardcore metal is playing, then we’d assume the complete opposite would occur. (no offense)
Music can also rhythm your store’s affluence. Did you notice that most fashion mainstream stores put loud music? It’s simply to invite people to go quicker: select, try, and buy in a few minutes. When a jazzy ambiance will invite them to chill and stay longer. You decide.
Bonus Sense: Intuition
This isn’t an official sense, but we’d like to think it is. Perhaps it is the one less concerned with when it comes to understanding your consumer. On the contrary, though, we believe it to be the most beneficial to consider when targeting a specific client. There is a science to branding and it has to do with understanding the cognitive and physical behavior of your client. You have to read them, understand them.
Your clients generally trust their guts. They know what to buy, and why. They may have a crush on a specific item when you thought the other one was the best. Let them express their feelings, their intuition, and everybody will be happy
And when it comes to you, the same applies: always trust your intuition. This is non-negotiable because eventually, you’re going to have to take risks. You may not be 100% sure that something will work out in your favor, but you take the risk anyway because it’s the only way to move forward. In order to have an exponential impact on your customer, they have to remember you. If you find yourself in a pickle, and can’t understand why customers aren’t remembering your brand, check out our analysis on the topic. It may help.
Taking a beat so you can read and come back...
If you want your customer to remember your brand, make them feel something. Preferably something positive and genuine. But in general, make them feel you, your brand, what you represent, and so on. So as not to exactly say it, but instead, represent and embody it. And whatever it is that you decide to embody, make sure it’s authentic.