How to unmask a less-than-average instore neuromarketing provider

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“So you say you can enrich my customers’ experience and raise my sales… Can you prove it?” It is perhaps the most common question you will get when you manifest yourself as a retail neuro marketing expert. And rightfully so. Let us take a look at the challenges and chances that can be found here. And how many neuro marketeers find themselves in a tight spot when facing this question.

Basically there are two ways you can go about this challenge. One is to measure customer experience and behavior before and after the implementation of your new instore media. The results will clearly mark how your atmospheric alterations influence your store visitors.

The second way is to provide such strong theoretical evidence-based foundation for your plans, that any doubts will be taken away beforehand. This requires some pretty strong persuasion and a very, very thorough knowledge of your own field.

Most instore media providers offer neither. Why? Because they are quite simply unable to.

If you offer to measure your performance, you’d better be very confident that you can deliver. And quite frankly, most instore media providers lack the neuro marketing knowledge to have that confidence. They make gut-feeling choices when implementing their services and so taking measurements is likely to prove their wrong-doing.

To be fair, measuring something like the effects of instore media is very hard. There are so many variables at work that data is easily polluted. So let us look at option two.

This option requires you display a thorough knowledge of experience and behavior manipulation through your specific medium. To persuade someone you are so capable that there is no need to measure your performance takes a lot. And most instore media providers cannot live up to that challenge.

As a result most instore neuro marketeers come up with facts and figures out of some scientific publication. “Did you know that instore visuals raise sales by 15%?”. Although that sounds attractive, let me reassure you that virtually none of the instore media providers have any clue as to how this beautiful performance boost is realized. So if you are a retail professional looking for a good partner in the field of instore visuals, music or scent, how do you know whether your guy can live up to his promises?

Simply ask a lot of questions. How was that sales boost realized? What were the specific variables that were manipulated? How will you translate that to my fomula? What exactly can I expect? Where do you see issues in our shopping experience that you feel you could fix with substantial positive effects?

Typical answers you might get are “My medium makes for a richer experience which raises sales” or “People like my medium and that makes them spend more”. Such answers tell you one thing: that is not going to happen.

Look for someone who can translate the particular challenges of your formula into strategic choices regarding instore media. You will usually find such consultants offer a far more detailed explanation of what they are doing. If you can trace their choices and see the logic in them, you are probably on the right path.

Just keep in mind, there is no golden trick to raise sales or improve experience. Playing any music won’t do. Adding some scent will not do a thing for you. It is only the right music, the right scent and/or the right visuals that might boost your enterprise’s performance. Make sure your supplier knows what he or she is talking about.

Thomas van Straaten
Instore media consultant

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