The power of senses, or what difference does a button make?

A huge. We are talking about a button on a dress, to be precise. A friend of mine asked me what triggers someone’s purchase decision. And my answer was – a button. What do you mean by that? Yes, guys, it comes to very (to you) absurd details, like a button, to trigger a decision of choosing a particular dress (I guess it sounds familiar to the majority of women, right). But let’s get a bit broader on that. I asked my friend back: “If you would look at the nicely prepared, gorgeously smelling and beautifully decorated dish, what would that do to you?” He replied within a second without any hesitation: “I would like to eat it.” Exactly. Why? His senses were sending signals to his brains, which triggered the desire to act. Indeed, he didn’t need much to decide to have this dish because he’s the guy who likes to eat and cook, so he has a high affinity for food, but the same mechanism works for all of us. We take impulses from outside, mostly subconsciously that make us react.

Few examples of that. Real estate agents suggest that their clients spray some vanilla scent in their apartments that they want to sell because it is known that vanilla triggers a feeling of warmth and coziness. With that, the intent of purchase increases. Another example is the scent of lavender, which is used, among others, for sleeping disorders. If you are a hotel manager, you might reconsider putting some of it in the guests’ rooms next to the beds. People might leave your hotel realizing they slept well; they relaxed without even knowing why (OK, it would take much more of an offer to satisfy your guest, but you got the point). Or would you buy your partner the same perfume for a birthday present that your ex was using? Most probably not, you don’t want to get reminded of your old relationship all the time. The list of examples is neverending.

And it’s not only a scent that triggers specific reactions; there is also a vision, sound, taste, and feel. Some industries strictly depend on those feelings, like the fashion industry on visual effect, music industry on audio, there will be no Michelin stars awarded restaurants without putting a huge focus on taste. Our senses perceive things from the environment every second and trigger certain feelings that make us act. We got used to that, and we do not pay attention consciously, at least not most of the time. We are making choices based on senses every day without knowing it, like how many times we pick a product from a shelf with more beautiful packaging than the one standing next to it.

As a product or service provider, you might put a bit more thinking on the path of our decisions. Our senses perceive external stimuli, and this is the first contact with a product. That impacts our cognitive or emotional response, which triggers then our reactions related to a purchase decision. It can lead to an impulse purchase, a higher amount spent, a trigger for seeking more information about your product. You can use the power of senses not only to attract your potential customers but to increase the quality of your product. I can’t imagine loud music in a spa center, kids’ toys with sharp edges, or a body lotion that smells horrible.

Coming back to a button-triggered purchase, it only shows the importance of visual impact to our purchase decisions (at the end of the day, the fashion industry holds 4% of the market share globally, someone is doing something right here).

Free tip: ask your clients for feedback on their experience of your product. You will get many precious ideas on possible improvements on how to leverage senses for the better user experience of your clients.

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