Bridging the Touch-Feel Gap with Pop-Ups - Medallion Retail
Pop-up Retail

Bridging the Touch-Feel Gap with Pop-Ups

POSTED ON: 07/31/18 emotional connections

The smell of a fresh croissant. The feel of lush velvet. The strum of the guitar in a familiar song. Every day, the five senses transport our thoughts, impact our memories and create emotional connections.

Driving our emotions and our experiences, these senses have stopping power and lasting influence – and are an incredibly valuable marketing tool.

But for the most part, retailers are forgoing the sensory and focusing solely on the big data from shopping patterns. Senses and emotions are so ingrained in our psyches and yet so vastly ignored in retail.

How can brands recapture the senses and bridge the touch-feel gap? Through creative and sensationally tactile pop-ups.

The limitations of the online world

The five senses have intrigued researchers and retailers for years, and there have been countless studies on the effects of the senses on consumer habits.

An extensive 13-country study entitled “Broad Sensory Branding”by Martin Lindstrom highlighted how brands that communicated with audiences from a multisensory platform had the “greatest likelihood of forming emotional connections between consumers and their product.”

This puts e-commerce at a vast disadvantage. Separated by a screen, the only way to experience products online is through sight and sound. It’s an experience driven not by emotion, but by convenience and speed. Its effect is fleeting.

With a pop-up, you have the opportunity to tap every one of the five senses. To do anything less would be like playing basketball with three players on the court and the remaining two on the bench – you have the tools at your fingertips; you’re just not using them.

[bctt tweet=”While sensory appeal can be achieved in-store, a pop-up offers the one-two punch of the unexpected and the special, bolstered with sensory immersion.” username=”MeetMrPopUp”]

Creating a bridge to the senses

Pop-ups are breeding grounds for creativity – pushing the bounds of in-store shopper moments® by giving the consumer an experience packed with sensory appeal: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

If e-commerce is about convenience and brick and mortar is about the joy of shopping, pop-ups are about the excitement of life. They’re about the experience in the moment.

Think about every time you’ve gone to a high-end hotel. How often have you brought home those miniature shampoos, conditioners and body washes? Each time you use them, you’re momentarily transported back to that blissful vacation.

This mind association works out great for both the hotel and toiletry brands. Imagine a joint body care and luxury hotel pop-up. Tuck prospective customers into a cozy bed for a nap and wake them up to a pampering spa, complete with peaceful sounds, tasty treats and relaxing massages. Next time they go to buy or use one of the body care products, they’ll think of the hotel (and vice versa). We call that experiential coshopperation!

Rooting your brand in their memories

Memories instilled by senses are powerful things and create emotional connections. So give the consumer more to remember.

Consider for a second the psychology of buying a car. Cars are very experiential purchases – consumers want to give them a spin first, making sure they can see themselves behind the wheel.

Now think about what you can do in lieu of a test drive around the block: sit the shopper in a simulation car seat, fire up the engine, ramp up the smell of leather and show the consumer the realm of possibilities in the car with the magic of virtual reality. They’ll quickly be reminded of a great road trip experience, the feeling of learning to drive and the exhilaration of speed. – all emotional connections.

If it’s a beach-themed pop-up, invite shoppers to take off their shoes, feel sand between their toes, sip piña coladas, listen to a steel drum, smell coconut and sea salt-infused air, and bask in the warmth of summer.

For a local pop-up, make sure you have a regional band on the speakers (or in person) and give the shoppers a taste of the town’s famous ice cream. If you’re promoting a line of super-soft linens, reinforce the theme of comfort with padded floors, plush pillows and toys, cloud décor and cotton candy cones – all to reinforce the feeling of comfort and calm.

Indulging in the fully immersive sensory experience now helps cement the pleasurable sensations in the long-term memory. When your consumer returns to the brick-and-mortar shop down the road – even if the sensory stimulation is long gone – those happiness pheromones will kick in.

At the end of the day, consumers are humans. As much as technology can be cool, we all thrive within the warmth of real human experiences.

Ready to make delicious memories through sensory pop-ups? Get started today by reaching out to Michael or Chris at

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