New research shows that most shoppers believe that sensory in-store activations enhance their shopping experience. These positive interactions create a lasting impression, assist in developing deeper connections with shoppers and inspire people to return and shop more often1.

As the consumers’ world becomes increasingly screen-based, shoppers say they want to experience the world in the five senses (smell, sight, sound, touch, taste) when venturing away from the desk, the couch or their device.

Touch and interacting

Touching and interacting with products is what makes in-store shopping invaluable (80% of Australian and 76% of New Zealand shoppers agree).

In-store sensory activations

According to 59% of shoppers, in-store sensory activations enhance the shopping experience.

Creative and inspirational store design

Creative and inspirational store design is important to keep shoppers interested in-store (51% of Australian and 42% of New Zealand shoppers agree).

Creating a strong sensory experience: 3 things that shoppers want

We spoke to a number of shoppers to uncover how retailers could provide the ‘ultimate’ sensory experience to their customers. Below are the the top three recommendations.


Customers wanted the opportunity to genuinely interact with products without any pressure to buy, and demonstrate the product being made or used.

For example: Nespresso stores have relaxed coffee bars that allow shoppers taste complimentary products and see the machine in action.


Customers were keen to be surprised and delighted through unexpected experiences or special offers such as gifts, rewards or sampling.

For example: The Body Shop includes free samples of products that their shoppers may want to trial and hosts VIP nights with special ‘On the spot’ offers.

Sensory activations

Giving shoppers a sensory journey through activations such as distinctive fragrances, creative and inspiring in-store designs, or customised music, to differentiate and reflect your brand identity.

For example: Oroton’s new flagship store design echoes the Australian landscape with the incorporation of finishes such as timber, stainless steel and marble. All elements are tied together with a leather scent to form a memorable sensory journey.

“Shopping should be a sensory experience.” – Pam, female shopper Queensland

1AMP Capital, Recommended Retail Practice Report, September 2014

The 2014 Recommended Retail Practice Report can be downloaded from Also available are infographics, customer testimonials, best practice examples and graphs for images.