Kevin Kelley, Shook Kelley, NRF Big Show, Shopper Marketing

Designing Stores that Reach the Minds, Habits and Behaviors of Consumers

Traditional design of brick-and-mortar retail stores is rooted in aesthetic principles such as scale, color and texture. Retail stores that take into consideration the emotional, psychological, sociological and anthropological behaviors of the consumer are few and far between.

Kevin Kelley, Shook Kelley, NRF Big Show, Shopper Marketing

During his keynote address at NRF’s Big Show, Kevin Kelley, principal at design firm Shook Kelley, outlined a new perspective of the consumer and its impact on store design, merchandising strategies and branding techniques. By understanding the environmental and situational factors that impact a consumer’s emotional response to a brand, retailers can better tailor the in-store experience and achieve higher sales.

Human behavior is universal, regardless of time or location. We behave and respond to impulses that help or hurt us. Ninety percent of brain activity exists in the subconscious. Neuromarketing explores how even the most minute perceptions impact a consumer’s decision-making process.

Advertisers take advantage of that subconscious activity to instill the sense that consumers are missing something in their lives. Through omnichannel marketing tactics, they condition the consumer to believe they need whatever the retailer is selling.

Retailers that take full advantage of this approach understand the three major situational factors that impact the consumer’s response to an in-store experience.

  1. Physical – The body moves and reacts to obstacles in a unique way. It will react a certain way to fixtures in the brick-and-mortar store.
  2. Emotional – How will consumers feel about your product?
  3. Social – What is happening in the world, their community, their home, with their friends, or in their own head that might impact their decision?

How they react to these three points can affect their decision to make a purchase or exit the store. More importantly, it can alter their perception of the brand.

The key takeaway from Kelley’s breakout session is that the in-store retail experience is not about the product; it is about the context and content retailers place around the product. The in-store experience should elicit an emotional response from the consumer, one that capitalizes on their sense of need.

Kelley does caution that the human mind can only absorb so much content. Too much information and context can cause the consumer’s mind to shut down long enough for them to exit the store. When retailers create an in-store experience that is comfortable, the consumer’s mind will slow down, resulting in more time spent engaged with their brand.