All of these sensory triggers are a powerful tool for eliciting a wide range of consumer reactions. The combination of these four emotional factors can create the desire within the consumer to enter the store (or not), and to speak with a salesperson (or not), both of which have an impact on sales. According to a research made by the Retail Merchants Association (2000), colour can affect psychological the consumer because it can relays strong visual messages, it can sooth and vitalise and also can create an aura for excitement. The choice of fixtures and signage can greatly alter consumer perception of a store.
Effectively placed signs can help to reinforce and retain customers in their role in service encounter. Moreover, as Sonja Larson, (1991) stated, signs enables even novice customers to quickly access a product with out having to ask and perhaps seem naï¿½ve. Furthermore, statistically the signage is important since: 80 percent of customers shop with out list, 53 percent make unplanned purchases, in-store influences lead to 66 percent of all sales and in-store signs/displays, increase sales up to 355 percent. Moreover, by using more signage, retailers can increase sales up to 49 per cent over items with no sign. (Larson, 1991)
Retailers also should merchandise products top to bottom rather than side to side since the human eye is designed to focus vertically rather horizontally. (Sharma and Stafford, 2000)a and Stafford, is designed to focus vertically rather horizontally.same ts of the company. Sound is a fundamental tool in completing visual transmission. It reminds the brain of fond memories and pleasant experiences and companies should tailor sounds to go consistent to the image they want to project. (Retail Merchants Association, 2000). Big retailers such as M&S is to launch a subliminal attempt to lure back shoppers by playing background music in its stores. (Gilbert, 2003) From a statistic point of view, customers stay longer in stores where music is pleasant and familiar by 18 percent and increase conversion by 17 percent (Retail Merchants Association. 2000).
This way, retailers can diverse new customers to loyal ones and also to encourage current customers to spend a larger proportion of their budget with the retailer by extending the length of time or duration of the relation. According to a research, a Canadian grocery chain explored these avenues for increasing profitability and observed that if each customer purchased one additional produce item, profitability would increase by more than 40%. Similarly, current customers who substituted two store-brand items for two national brand items each store visit would increase profitability by 55%. Furthermore, if these improvements were achieved simultaneously, future gross profits could be improved dramatically (Babin and Attaway, 2000).
Thus, expanding a customer’s share of wallet can lead to profitability gains and future success Finally, retailers should support sensitivities such as smell since it can product hormones that causes instantaneous physical responses often related to childhood memories or home. These feelings or images of comfort, home or positive experiences can stimulate sales and create positive feelings that will affect the shopper’s behaviour (Retail Merchants Association, 2000).
Retailers can also conduct trials to determine the small-scale effects of one environmental variable and predict the impact of change. If, for example, a retailer owns more than one store, such as the hypothetical company, changes can be made to one ambient element-music, say-in a test store, and the impact on sales, emotions and perceptions can be measured against the control store(s), thus confirming or refuting anticipated results. (Chebat, 2000) At the very least, this allows the retailer to minimize the damage if the results do not meet expectations. On the other hand, if the desired results are achieved, the retailer can invest in the changes with confidence.
Retailers do not operate in vacuum; in fact, they do have to consider how they shape up against their perceived competitors and how well they differentiate their offering in order to increase their market share. This clearly means looking at the market, that retailers must continually strive to meet increased competition and changing consumer preferences. According to Kotler, (2003), nowadays, more and more retail companies have understood that the atmosphere of the store is an important part of the shopping experience.
The atmosphere offered by a store can influence consumers’ behaviour to visit the store and in some cases, the atmosphere can be more influential than the product itself in the purchase decision. On a practical level, the author demonstrated that in-store atmospherics (music/smell/colour/dï¿½cor/etc.) enhance the shopping experience which can affect the emotional response of customer and will lead to an increase or a decrease in the planned level of purchases accordingly.
Akhter, S.H., Andrews, J.C. and Durvasula, S., (1994) The Influence of Retail Store Environment on Brand-Related Judgements, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 1, (2), pp67-76 Areni, C., (2003) Examining Managers’ Theories of How Atmospherics Music Affects Perception, Behaviour and Financial Performance, Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 10, (5), pp263-274 Babin, J.B., Chebat, J-C. and Michon, R., (2003) Perceived appropriateness and its effect on quality, affect and behaviour, The University of Southern Mississippi,USA