When food and beverage distributors or retailers create a product display, it’s important to think about all five senses—not just sight. Consumers can be persuaded by the way something looks, feels, smells, sounds, and tastes, so don’t neglect four out of the five senses by focusing only on the visual appearance of a product display. Here are some tips to help you incorporate all five senses into the next display you design:


Science has proven that a single whiff of a scent can trigger memories, which is why the scent you choose for your product display is so important. The last thing you want is to use a scent that evokes sad or fearful memories in customers who walk by, so do your research before finalizing your decision. To avoid running into this issue, stick to scents that are related to the products on display. For example, use a subtle coconut scent on displays featuring products made for the beach. This scent may remind customers of how much fun they have every summer at the beach, so they will be more inclined to buy the products on display.


The sound of a retail environment can greatly affect customers’ moods, so choose wisely when picking a soundtrack. According to the American Psychological Association, music with a slow tempo is more likely to influence customers to spend more, however this may depend on the environment. For example, young customers shopping in a fashionable clothing store may prefer fast music while they browse. However, studies have shown loud music with a fast tempo is a turn off for grocery store customers. This shows the importance of knowing your customers before settling on a specific sound.


Why is incorporating touch into your product display so important? A study published in the Judgment and Decision Making journal found that people tend to become emotionally attached to an item after just 30 seconds of holding it in their hands. People who felt this personal attachment were also willing to spend more to keep the item. If the item you have on display is packaged in a box, make sure you have a few samples out of the box that customers can touch, even if it’s a product that customers don’t necessarily need to try before they buy. Do whatever you can to get them to pick it up and hold it in their hands so they feel more compelled to buy it.


Of course, not every display will be able to incorporate taste. But, if you are promoting a food or beverage product, enhance the display by offering free samples. You don’t even have to have someone standing by to hand out the samples, as this can increase costs and make the execution more difficult. Instead, draw customers in using the other four senses, and then let them serve themselves if they are interested.

Have you ever created a display that tapped into all five of consumers’ senses? How did you pull it off? Share your strategies in the comments below!