Harnessing the 5 Senses to Get Your Customers Spending More

May 2, 2018 In Latest News

Every store owner wants their customers to shop and spend more. Moving your customers from their go-to product toward new and unique items that build bigger baskets starts with understanding how they shop and using that knowledge to your advantage.

Using the basics of psychology to enhance your customers’ retail experience starts with something we all understand: the five senses. Read on to see how focusing on these five ways of interacting can better connect you with your consumers, resulting in an increase in spending and rise in profits.


Scent has one of the strongest ties to memory in the brain. Have you ever walked into a place that smelled a certain way and had a strong memory of another experience? You can use this psychological tie to your advantage.

There are scents tied to seasons, tastes and feelings. In the winter, when many people want to cozy up with a warm glass of mulled wine, a cinnamon-scented diffuser could encourage a customer to buy not just the inexpensive red, but also a bottle of nice whiskey.

The field of “scent marketing,” with industry leaders such as ScentAir and Air Aroma, claim that because scent is the sense most closely associated with memory and experiences, the use of aromatherapy devices and scent diffusers can directly increase purchase likelihood and sales volume.

Therefore, even if it isn’t the first sense that comes to mind when thinking about ways you can tune-up your store, improving the way your store smells is still worth the effort.


Interacting with products increases a person’s likelihood to purchase it. Make your products accessible to customers, if your store’s layout allows. Create end caps that encourage people to interact. Include merchandise in your displays, like koozies, shakers and branded bottle openers, that will catch a customer’s eye and call them over.

Make sure that your products aren’t dusty on the shelves and that price tags don’t cover important information on the bottle. This improves the experience when a customer picks up a bottle to get more information about a product.

Beyond this often simple change in store arrangement, you can offer interactive classes and events within the store. If a customer can come in for a short class in making cocktails with a certain brand of whiskey, they will tie that positive learning interaction with that brand. Partner with local bars or distilleries to bring in cocktail experts to benefit the whole community and better sell product.


Taste is a crucial piece of a customer’s exploration of a product, and plays a critical role in what they will buy. As craft alcohols grow in popularity and nuanced flavors (from barrel aging light liquors to incorporating unique grapes in wines) proliferate, customer’s want to taste before they buy.

If your customers can taste different products while they are already in the store ready to buy, it could increase their likelihood to impulsively try something new and maybe more expensive.

Tastings can be done through brands, usually meaning even less effort by your team. A representative can come in to talk about the wine or liquor and help sell it.

Many stores also make this a regular event. Having a daily, weekly or monthly tasting event creates regular opportunities to build new relationships with customers. The more they come in and taste new products that they like, the stronger a relationship they will have with your store. Knowing your store offers tastings and similarly immersive experiences, they will not only come back for their wine and liquor purchases, but hold your recommendations at a higher weight.


A broader definition of hearing, communication is key to building positive relationships with your customers. Keep in touch through social networks, emailing lists, even text messages to inform your customers of upcoming events and promotions. You could even offer recommendations for new products to try via these channels, applying valuable customer data to see what they are already buying and what they might tangentially enjoy.

Recommendations are crucial in-store, too. They help build bigger baskets, and can drive consumers into new categories or toward higher-end brands. Create handwritten cards that highlight “staff picks” or describe a new product in ways a real customer (not a sommelier) could understand and appreciate. For example, highlight a new wine as perfect for date night in instead of “oaky”.

Make your recommendations strategic. Include unique varieties of popular categories like pinot grigio alongside rare or interesting categories that shoppers may not have approached previously. You can also use specific sections in your store to recommend tastes customers may like based on their other purchases. Train your staff in this information, too, so that they can thoughtfully refer products when asked.


Visuals are a branding imperative. How many times have you heard a customer say they’re trying a new wine based on the label? Packaging, brand names and labels encourage invaluable customer interaction, which drives sales. Be sure that these vital elements can be seen from the shelves: Orient bottles neatly toward the customer, and consider adding lighting elements to brighten shelves.

The way your store looks matters, too. Place products that have a higher value, either in cost or in popularity, at eye level for easy customer access. Keep your shelves looking clean and crisp. Overall, shoot for a store layout that is aesthetically pleasing, pulling customers in rather than making them wish to get their shopping over with to get out.


Thinking of your store strategy in terms of the five senses can help you focus your efforts in more surface-level ways that will have a deeper effect on your bottom line. Before you make any overnight changes, start by analyzing your customers. What are they buying? How do they interact with your store? When and how often do they come in to shop? Gather data on their shopping behaviors and use it to guide any adjustments you may make. Starting with and catering to your customers by appealing to their humanity in these ways will build loyal customer relationships that result in increased spending.