Our work.

Sensory in-store marketing is a hit with shoppers.

In our work with leading retailers, we work to understand how to create excellent customer experiences, how to evaluate new ideas, and how to genuinely connect with customers. The retail environment is one which, certainly in the UK, is suffering almost daily headlines about its demise: Brexit creating distribution and manufacturing issues, consumer uncertainty affecting spend, high rental rates in high streets, lower footfall in retail spaces, unwieldy distribution chains, shoppers moving to online and delivery options, out-of-date retail spaces…

However, it is important to focus on what is unique about in-store experience. Being in-store, in any category, creates an opportunity for retailers to inspire and change behaviour in a way which is not possible online.

One of these ways is through elevating the senses when shopping. Using scent, sound, vision and touch, you can create an experience that is vastly different to an online shopping trip. Shopping is a sensory activity, and retailers can use sensory perception to influence the customer experience and even spending decision making.

What did we do?

We worked with global sensory marketing company Mood Media to examine the in-store customer experience across 10 countries.

The objective of the research was to better understand the impact of sensory experiences on shopper perceptions and behaviour. In particular, it sought to measure the impact of audio (music), visual (screens), tactile (touch) and scent stimuli.

Our research was global covering UK, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Belgium-Luxembourg-Netherlands, China and Spain.  We explored 6 different sectors – banking, beauty, fashion, grocery , pharmacy, and fast-food restaurants. The large sample and global coverage gives us a robust exploration of store experiences all around the world.

Our results

We found that 78% of shoppers globally say that an enjoyable store atmosphere is a key factor in their decision to choose in-store over e-commerce.  We also explored not only what shoppers say they enjoy, but what will have an impact on certain customer behaviours, such as:

  • Revisiting a store (loyalty)
  • Making a purchase (conversion)
  • Telling others about the experience (recommendation)

Our research has uncovered some very interesting differences, not only across different cultures, but also across category.

Behaviour Change

We address how best to encourage behaviour change through sensorial elements in-store, through understanding what will encourage longer dwell times in-store according to shoppers.

Sensory marketing has a psychological impact. It has the ability to lift your mood, and make them more likely to want to buy something while shopping.

“Despite all online headwinds, the power of brick and mortar is undeniable. This study is yet another important and inspirational call to all in-store marketers, regardless of industry,” says Mood Media marketing director Valentina Candeloro.

Global Findings

Our research highlighted that shoppers in China and Spain react most positively to an enjoyable in-store environment. Our findings are very important to any global business working to create consistent yet relevant in-store experiences.

Human Understanding

The physical store remains an important channel to most shoppers around the world. Experiential plays a key role in choosing bricks and mortar over e-commerce.


Valentina Candeloro, Marketing Director - Mood Media
It was great to work with Walnut Unlimited to uncover which sensory elements have the greatest influence on customers' attitudes and behaviours when shopping, across 10 different countries and 6 categories. Over the past several years, retailers have been looking with greater intensity at new ways for customers to interact and engage with brands and their products on a more personal, tangible and emotional level. One area of focus that continues to garner renewed attention is sensory marketing. Walnut Unlimited supported us in uncovering how the senses can play a key role in bringing people back to bricks and mortar retailers.