You are reading the Engage chapter of our 5 Es of Visitor Experience article series. Click here to start from chapter 1.
Here is where you build a relationship with the customer with a brand centred visitor experience – create interesting spaces that tell your stories, help your staff provide great service in line with your brand.
How does this interaction usually play out?
Will customers make a quick purchase?
Or are we laying the foundations for a long, personal relationship?
How long do they stay?
Do they need to talk with a person, or is the process entirely automated? How do they buy?
The Engage stage is the moment they enter until they are ready to leave, from the customer learning how your business works, through to making a purchase decision, and it is often where the memorable experiences occur.
Scientists have linked remembering with place since the early 1970s. It’s called episodic memory – the recollection of a personal experience that occurred at a particular time and place.
Recalling those memories also brings up some of the associated emotions and other context – you remember some of the information about who, what, when, where and why.
Imagine walking into a cellar door. As you enter, your brain records what you see, hear, smell, taste, touch and feel. You probably wont remember much of that cellar door if nothing particularly interesting or important happens inside—in fact, you’ll probably forget it—but if something memorable does happen, you will commit that space to your memory along with some of the things you saw and felt. That room will be forever linked to the memory of what you experienced inside it.
Retailers design shopping experiences around getting people to engage and then to buy.
Supermarkets are a great example since they are well known for their deliberately engineered shopping experiences. We naturally shop counter-clockwise, starting with fresh flowers and produce, with the most essential items scattered across the entire store. The idea is that the longer you’re there, the more items you’ll buy. Trolley size is also adjusted to prompt you to buy more, matched items are paired together, and brands pay more to get stocked at eye-level.
Some other examples of engaging experiences are barbers who offer a free beer with every haircut. It makes so much sense: how do you make a bloke comfortable with sitting and talking with someone they’ve just met? Put a drink in their hand. Wineries have long offered tastings to tempt buyers, and wine tourism can be an extension or personalisation of that experience.