Emotional Retail: Appealing to the Senses

Retail started out with small, mom and pop” shops where everyone knew your name and likely your order as well. With automation we lost that authentic experience.

Large department stores with the lowest price became commonplace, and personalization was removed. Now we’re back to a place where personalization, creating experiences, and evoking emotion is once again expected.

It’s easy to say you want your stores to become an authentic experience, but how do you redefine your in-store experience and work towards making your locations a destination? Start by asking these questions to get a better idea of what you need to achieve.

  • What pain points do your customers currently experience?
  • What type of experience could solve that frustration?
  • What type of experience could delight or surprise them?
  • What technologies, if any, can you use to create that solution?
  • How does it strengthen your customer’s brand loyalty?

From there you can begin to model your in-store experience after that of human experiences. In order to evoke emotion from your customers, you need to engage their senses.


Sephora has created an interactive experience both from a human and technology perspective. Color stations now include touchscreens that offer customers shade matching technology and the ability to view different looks on their own facial reflections.


West Elm and Sonos have partnered and select locations will feature dedicated Sonos listening experiences. These custom experiences allow people to truly understand what the music and audio would be like integrated into their home lives.


Bonobos guideshops allow you to enjoy a beer while you shop with a fit guide.” You can’t walk out of the store with product, but through an ecommerce oriented endless aisle solution, product will be delivered in a matter of days. 


Pirch has created a focus on the smell of warm chocolate chip cookies and coffee to evoke an emotion around the feeling of home. Customers are greeted by Lifestyle Experience Advisors” using tablets to further establish a truly luxurious experience.


Sport Chek has created a number of flagship stores, bringing brick-and-mortar into the digital age. The goal is to continue the retail journey the buyer starts online into the store with a number of interactive technologies, including holograms and screens that also engage with wearables, sports and exercise equipment.

The ultimate goal is to create a place of comfort where customers not only want to shop, but where they want to stay. Bring your customers into your brand story and create such an experience they can’t help but buy. 

Want more information on how to evolve your in-store experience? Check out Retail TouchPoint’s special report, Store of the Future: Staying Relevant For The Evolving Shopper Journey.