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Sensory Marketing: Reinventing the Customer Experience

fornerino-marianela
Published on
19 April 2017

Sensory marketing can modify the customer experience as well as a customer’s purchasing habits. Marianela Fornerino, a professor and researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Management, is an expert on sensory marketing. She shares with us advice drawn from her experience and practical teaching with third-year Grande Ecole students.

Images, sounds, smells, touch and taste can all spark our curiosity and desire. But they can just as easily increase inhibitions. Understanding the alchemy behind our senses can have a real impact on a customer's intention to buy. The key is to develop a strategy that implements a balanced delivery of sensory stimuli.

Hands on experience

For 15 years, Marianela Fornerino has taught sensory marketing to third-year students in the Grande Ecole program at Grenoble Ecole de Management. All of her students are specialized in marketing studies. The goal of her class is to help students understand the impact of various sensorial stimuli.

"It's important to study experience-based marketing. You have to understand the customer experience as well as his or her emotions and behavior in the store. Then you need to analyze the cognitive, emotional and behavioral impact of sensory stimuli on this consumer experience. First you analyze each sense individually. Then you look at their interactions and the combined impact they may have. My course finishes with concrete hands on practice." The goal is to understand which sensory stimuli will have a positive or negative impact on a consumer's perception and evaluation of a product.

Insolita: a marketing playground for students

Students are able to study sensory marketing through an innovative store called Insolita. The store is a high-end Italian "shoe bar" that presents handmade shoes produced by craftsmen in northern Italy. The store knows how to play on a customer's senses by mixing a wide variety of Italy-related sensory stimuli.

Color, taste and smell all come into play through a mix of Italian colors, food and the smell of leather. "Students were able to implement a traditional marketing analysis of the concept (diagnostic, segmentation, target audience and position). They also looked at the operational side of things to analyze the customer experience with the brand," adds Marianela. To improve the store's innovative concept, the students made several suggestions:

  • Create a real store front that lays out the products in a theatricalized manner
  • Create a showroom space for customers to discover, for example, a variety of leather textures
  • Adapt the decoration to really underline the Italian image
  • Reorganize the sales space to simplify the customer's browsing experience

A connected shop for students and companies

In November 2016, GEM created an innovative connected shop to serve as a laboratory that will enable students and companies to explore the "phygital" (physical + digital) shopping experience of the future. The store is located on the GEM BIS campus as part of the GIANT Innovation Campus. It was set up thanks to technological support from startups and laboratories in the Grenoble ecosystem. Picture Organic Clothing is an innovative and environmentally friendly clothing brand that was willing to partner with GEM to provide the store with 200 clothing models and a selection of winter sports wear.

The connected shop aims to create a space that is dedicated to education and research on the future of phygital sales. In terms of sensory marketing, the shop aims to measure the impact of colors, music, touch, taste and smell on a brand and its customer's intention to purchase. Students can take part in an immersive sales experience by testing connected dressing rooms that detect RFID tags in order to display an item's characteristics. The 160 square meter shop also enables partner companies to experiment with new means of payment (cryptocurrencies), blockchain and personalized marketing systems based on technologies such as facial recognition. "For GEM partners, this connected shop provides a live testing ground to try out innovative concepts," says Christian Rivet, head of the connected shop.

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    Sauver des vies, améliorer la qualité de vie pendant et après le traitement, le tout au meilleur prix : les promesses de la santé connectée ouvrent des horizons encourageants pour l’avenir des systèmes de santé. Elle contribuera à créer un...

  • Rüling Charles-Clemens, Professor GEM
    Published on 08 September 2015

    AMJ Best Article 2014 : Congratulations to Clemens Rüling

    This summer at Vancouver, during last conference « Academy of Management Annual Meeting » Clemens Rüling and his co-authors received the prize of the“AMJ Best Article 2014” for their article on the evolution of United Nations conferences on climate...

  • Published on 07 September 2015

    Energy market barometer report: the development of energy prices

    The next Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) will take place in Paris from 30 November to 11 December. The Paris Climate Summit, announced as one of the biggest climate negotiations in history,...

  • Published on 03 July 2015

    Making a success of your business transfer: new tools developed for a European project

    Every year, approximately 150,000 business transfers fail in Europe threatening some 600,000 jobs. BTAR's European project, launched in early 2015, aims to target the vulnerabilities in business transfer systems and draw on best practices in order...

  • Published on 23 June 2015

    Baromètre de la finance : Climat mondial des affaires juin 2015

    La perception du climat des affaires par les responsables financiers français et la comparons aux résultats obtenus en Europe et dans le reste du monde. L'évaluation des sources de risque pour l'entreprise ainsi que les prévisions de croissance des...

  • Published on 22 June 2015

    Research: Microeconomic Degrowth, Community Supported Agriculture

    Economic growth is the cornerstone of mainstream macroeconomics. In the face of economic crises and unemployment, growth has long been the only acceptable solution. Yet many issues have started to challenge this dominant economic model. As a result...

  • Recherche : nutrition des sportifs et plaisir
    Published on 16 June 2015

    Is It Fun or Exercise ? The Framing of Physical Activity Biases Subsequent Snacking

    While the benefits of exercising are widely accepted by consumers and healthcare providers, people who begin an exercise program don't necessarily lose weight. A fact that can be frustrating not only for practitioners, but their coaches and...

  • Mark Olsthoorn, professor and researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Mangement
    Published on 07 April 2015

    Barriers to Electricity Load Shift in Companies, a Survey-Based Exploration of the End-User Perspective

    Overcoming the barriers to renewable energy systems is a key challenge. In shifting from centralized fossil-fuel energy production to decentralized solar and wind energy production, countries are being forced to act on multiple fronts : flexible...

  • Mark Olsthoorn, professor and researcher at Grenoble Ecole de Mangement
    Published on 07 April 2015

    Recherche : Effacement de consommation électrique, pourquoi les industriels hésitent

    En acceptant de réduire leur consommation électrique lors de pics de demande, les industriels faciliteraient l'équilibrage des réseaux de distribution. Or, ils ont de solides arguments pour ne pas jouer la carte de la flexibilité. Une étude les...

  • Vincent Mangematin, Associate Dean for Corporate Relations and Research at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 17 March 2015

    Orchestrating Innovation with User Communities in the Creative Industries

    In search of continuous innovation, the digital creative industries have expanded their interactions with user communities to develop their products. This study highlights the evolution of these company-user relationships that allow for fluid...

  • Published on 16 January 2015

    Nostalgia makes consumers more likely to spend or donate money

    The use of nostalgia has been a top trend in marketing in the last few years, in commercials, product lines and even TV shows. The present study demonstrates that feeling nostalgic weakens the desire to hold on to money, and makes it easier to part...

  • Published on 16 January 2015

    Recherche : Pourquoi la nostalgie vous donne envie d’acheter

    La mode actuelle des produits « rétro » ou vintage ne doit rien au hasard. Une étude co-écrite par Jannine Lasaleta, chercheur à GEM, montre que ce qui suscite un sentiment de nostalgie réduit simultanément l’attrait pour l’argent. Le dépenser...

  • Joachim Schleich, professor and energy markets experts at Grenoble Ecole de Management
    Published on 01 December 2014

    Research: Switching to energy efficient lighting : a bright idea!

    Energy efficiency policies such as the EU ban on incandescent light bulbs (and on halogen ones in the near future) have been the subject of much discussion in the last few years. The majority of the academic community predicted that new emerging...

  • Published on 07 November 2014

    Research : Digitization, Changing How We Work and Coordinate Projects

    All of us use digital tools and objects that can now be shared and combined in a variety of ways. This change has profoundly influenced the organization of work with projects being divided according to specialization and geographical location.

  • Published on 07 November 2014

    Recherche : Effets spéciaux pour le cinéma, l’art de faire collaborer 60 métiers

    Comment les spécialistes des effets spéciaux collaborent-ils sur un même film alors qu’ils appartiennent à 60 métiers différents et sont répartis dans le monde entier ? Deux chercheurs de GEM ont étudié les mécanismes de coordination qui structurent...

  • Erno TORNIKOSKI is a Professor in Entrepreneurship at Grenoble Ecole de Management.
    Published on 16 September 2014

    Research: How can the start-up process be accelerated?

    Success or failure of new businesses is what most studies related to the start-up process focus on. However, in today's dynamic market, time is a highly critical issue for nascent entrepreneurs.