Why do we want to

Multisense Institute: As you said, the overall atmosphere at the POS is also decisive in terms of sales promotion. In the case of holistic marketing concepts, there seems to be a lack of all-rounders or directors for the composition from various communication disciplines. How is it with multisensory marketing or neuromerchandising?

Ohnemüller: We still work in very small parts today. There is shop fitting, specialists in scenting or sound concepts, POS marketers who recommend either shopping cart advertising, floor graphics or advertising buttons for employees. This creates a multitude of small puzzle pieces - focus and context are no longer recognizable. But in an orchestra someone has to set the tone. And that is also the direction in which we are working: whether industrial or trading partners, first you have to define which music should be played. In the further process, all elements of the orchestra are coordinated so that they finally sound together harmoniously.

In multi-sensor technology, there is still no one who plays holistically with the levels of senses and perception. And that's where our task lies: After defining the company or brand DNA, ask: What does that mean for your company in terms of colors, shapes, tones - all sensory experiences, female and male customers, primed words and images.

Instead, there is cardboard madness. Not only do many great displays collapse as soon as they are soaked with water by the cleaning machine in the evening - the flood of cardboard is also incompatible with sustainability and ecology. Today customers know that a T-shirt has covered 40,000 flight kilometers. And I think that tomorrow customers will no longer be ready to reward that with a positive purchase decision. On the contrary: That will lead to a reduction in consumption.

Fringes: People don't think socio-demographically - as we would like them to - but are guided by motives. Motives, in turn, are always guided by emotions and are part of them. What we call feeling and also memory is part of emotions. What things do I keep? The ones that are emotional. In addition, emotions accelerate learning: once you've touched a hot stove, that's enough for the rest of your life. You bite him a red strawberry - sweet. In a green - sour. You do that once as a baby - then you will know.

Multisense Institute: Accordingly, the design of your first Rewe store based on neuromerchandising aspects was crowned with success. What ingredients did you use, for example, to create a classic market atmosphere as a guarantee of freshness?

Fringes: The priming effect takes effect again. People are convinced that the goods in a traditional market are fresher, even though the market traders buy from the same wholesaler as the supermarkets. But we are shaped by an archaic picture of the market, thousands of years old. Freshness is a main characteristic. That's why you can't create a market feeling by writing it on a sign.

What is a market? First the floor: mostly street, preferably pavement. Then the situation: the market is always a focal point. All roads lead to the market, i.e. space must be created accordingly. At the market I can find everything in one place: fruit, vegetables, sausage, cheese ... And that's how we implemented it in the shop that I built. It was enough to build a slightly uneven market floor to convey a market feeling to the sensitive Merkel cells of the hand through barely perceptible vibrations. People actually said: 'The vegetables are fresher here'.

However, we have thousands and thousands of supermarkets built in such a way that meat is offered in the back. We are the only country in the world where you have to buy the side dishes first and then the main course.

Multisense Institute: And if I am convinced of the value, do I also like to pay the often higher market prices?

Fringes: Yes, because Homo Oeconomicus does not exist, it has nothing to do with reality. We always talk internally in retail about the fact that the price is decisive. But there are always only values. If it were all about prices, we couldn't declare a work of art for 1.3 million, not a 63 bottle of Mouton-Rothschild for $ 23,000.

Multisense Institute: A long farewell. The neuroscientific knowledge that free will is limited to a few percent dates back to the last century, but it also requires drastic rethinking, which is a particular challenge for us.

Fringes: Homo Oeconomicus also makes it easy for us. He stamps people as purely rationally decisive beings - as predictable. But we are not predictable. During my research trips, neuroscientists told me, “The first thing you have to understand is that you don't have free will. And if you don't understand that, stop doing it. ”That was a drastic realization for me too.

Nerve transit times were measured as early as 1900. It was shown that there is always a time delay before the sensory information, which runs over the nerves with electricity, e.g. leads to a hand movement or a spoken word. Today brain researchers also know why. The brain says: 'Because you want it.' Because this way you keep the feeling of always being self-sufficient and yourself.

Your perception actually has nothing to do with the reality of the world. This is their story from the world. It is unique and universal. Your thoughts, imaginations, your brain, evolution and genetics tell you what the world looks like. And in addition: That is your free will. And that also applies to people who are considered cool calculators. Fifteen years ago, the brains of stock exchange traders were observed under the tomograph. The result: the brain made the decision of what to buy long before it decided for itself. And then they explained the reasons for the purchase. Each of us does it. The woman who buys 100 pairs of shoes, the man who drives a city car with 400 hp. We push from want to need. We always explain why we are doing something.

When I do a project, I always put myself in the shop for two or three days, on Saturdays when it's full. You may have come up with the best concept - then there are 300 people in the business and everything suddenly looks different. People walk differently, need and view other things than they thought. Because systems or their smallest particles interact with each other. Tell 100 people that the best thing in life is going from A to B. Even if they believe it, 20 will take a different direction. That means the system collapses. Or think of the example of the Coca Cola Santa Claus advertisement followed by a visit to the beverage market. It stinks of beer, and I'm already fed up with Cola.

Ohnemüller: That is the emotional hole we have at the POS.

Multisense Institute: As far as discounters are concerned, I hardly know any stores that I would consider a positive experience. After all, there are no longer any staff available to help. With a few exceptions, these purchases are more of a compulsory exercise. Based on the current situation - how can you counteract this?

Ohnemüller: To paraphrase Fringes: trade is not about providing goods, but about meeting people. If I were the POS operator, I would always start by seeing my employees as the most important brand or company ambassadors. Due to the concept of self-service, we have lost contact with the customer.

But there are also a lot of very good examples of how you can stage the POS and create an atmosphere. I'm not only thinking of Abercrombie & Fitch, but also of numerous Edeka and Rewe merchants. When you walk through his Rewe stores with Mr. Nüsken, his eyes light up when it comes to return on sales. I have always been told that there is no money to be made in food retailing, but why are the richest German retailers, sometimes also discounters?

Today we learn from many good retailers that atmosphere works. A good shopping climate is always a mixture of many elements: the right concept, the approach by employees, the perception that is fed by all the senses, the context: the story has to be coherent and credible, basic ingredients such as cleanliness - another big issue for textiles. Where do the buying decisions usually take place - in the changing room, when the floor is dirty, the motivation to buy is gone.

Multisense Institute: Another topic would be the air at the POS. Fragrances have an extreme influence on us, even if we don't realize it. How would it have to smell in the food retail trade in order to beguile customers?

Fringes: The grocery store should smell like mama's kitchen. Just like on Sunday after roast pork: freshly cooked. Because where does my groceries end up? In the kitchen.

Ohnemüller: As a neuromerchandising group, however, we consciously say goodbye to the topic of fragrances, because the priority is to create a climate that is okay, i.e. to exclude interference fields such as problems with the sewer system. We don't want to manipulate, but rather that the customers feel comfortable - just like at home.

At Coca Cola they said: 'Everything is communicated' 20 years ago. There is also a parallel to the basic rule of communication scientist Paul Watzlawick: You can't not communicate. And that also applies to the POS. That is why you need structural engineers who make sure that the instruments and the structural analysis are correct. Brain research gives us points of contact: How does the human organism work and what does that mean for the POS? How is a neural code created? How does reality get into my head? We want to help ensure that these findings are used and that the topic of POS marketing is put on a more solid footing from bottom to top. We actually act as do-gooders - we rely on customer loyalty. In this respect, neuromerchandising is a sustainable concept.

Multisense Institute: Since the immense effect of empathic-emotional customer contact via the senses has been scientifically proven - to what extent does research provide support to convince decision-makers and number-driven buyers?

Fringes: It does not work. Because these people work in a system, confusing the understanding of numbers with empathy. Of course, a businessman also needs brains, he also has to earn money - with real empathy he would give the goods away - but I have to give the customer the feeling that I understand him.

The more fuzzy my target group is, the more difficult it will of course be. When I have a clearly defined target group, it is also easy to work with my senses and perception. If my clientele consists only of young people between the ages of 15 and 25, I don't play operettas, quick editing sequences in videos are no problem, I know what they want to smell, experience and see. With this I of course exclude older people. Concentrating on clearly defined target groups, however, is a fundamental problem in German retail. But 'everybody’s darling is nobody’s darling ’.

With concepts like those for food retailing, the target groups are of course no longer so clearly defined, which means that it becomes much more complicated to work with senses and perception. To do this, we call in experts for fragrance, sound, architecture, etc., while we are the experts for the overall concept.

Ohnemüller: We need POS DNA that is translated into senses and perception. This DNA is always individual, so the teams we put together are always different. We need creative solutions and more people who know their senses.

Our mission is to find a better way to do POS marketing. Our vision is to rethink the POS, but actually archaically - i.e. to think new old. Neuromerchandising has a lot to do with loyalty and wellbeing. Not everyone is your customer. But every customer is a person. If customers feel good, their length of stay is extended. Merchants know that the length of stay and receipt have a certain connection, because the longer I stay, the more time I have to take advantage of goods and offers. When we are asked about the global formula, I always say: We change the length of stay and the customer frequency and thus we change the receipt value in a positive way.

The interview was conducted by Sabine Wegner, editor-in-chief at the Multisense Institute.