Play to Emotions and Experience to Sell

November 4, 2005

Play to Emotions and Experience to Sell, Says Report

Consumers are skewing to either end of the retail spectrum, discount or luxury, and persuading them to buy a non-necessity depends on retailer's ability to appeal to their emotions and provide them with experiences, says the "State of the Industry Report" from Display & Design Ideas. The report looks at recent trends and provieds a preview of 2006.

Consumers are basing more buying decisions on psychological polarities – practical or emotional. Practical purchases at stores like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Costco are rewarded with shopping expeditions in upscale stores that resonate emotionally. Starbucks, Williams-Sonoma, Anthropologie, Restoration Hardware, Tiffany & Co. and Whole Foods Market are examples of stores that incorporate emotional appeal into their store experiences, says the report. Another type of polarization is becoming evident as one consumer segment exhibits a desire for eco-friendly products, lifestyles and attitudes, while others drive gas-hogging SUVs and have little or no interest in recycling.

The in-store experience is growing in importance as a motivator of sales. While buying decisions have always been hugely influenced by what the customer sees in the store, new data based on research by advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi says 85% of purchase decisions are reached in stores. According to Saatchi & Saatchi, 80% of those decisions are made in just four seconds.

Big-box stores, including Best Buy, are developing smaller boutique concepts. Specialty chains are launching new brands. Home Depot's entry into Manhattan, and other similar retailer ventures, requires the development of non-prototype formats. Wal-Mart and Target have developed unique store designs that are community/locale specific. Wal-Mart's new "Mediterranean" store and its experimental "green" store are new directions for the retailer. This type of creative experimentation could spell the end to the mindless cloning or rolling out of hyper-standardized stores.

To purchase a PDF version of the full 2005/2006 State of the Industry Report, go to

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