Colgate and Smith look at senses and experiences from a broader angle and through a ‘Value Frame’ design, they claim that the consumer thinks on four main axes while making sense of the value he assigns to a product. The four axes of this value frame are functional value, experiential/hedonic value, symbolic value, and cost/sacrifice value.
Functional value delves into how much of the desired qualities a product or service has, how useful it is, and how much of a unique function it features. Tesco, from the shopping experience to the trained personnel and the in-store atmosphere, makes you feel its functional value by saying ‘Every Little Helps’. Experiential/hedonic value is relevant to how a product or service touches the consumer and how much it stimulates his senses. Barnes&Noble is one of the best examples that represents experiential value and it offers much more than classical bookstores. The consumer has the opportunity to live the book he is holding in his hand inside the store. Symbolic value is about how strong a psychological bond the consumer establishes with a product or a service. As a retail chain, Target positions itself as an upper class discount market and it offers branded products with cheap prices in a distinguishably differentiated retail atmosphere. Symbolic value could either be a nostalgic link or it could be about how we define ourselves to our circle using that product... Finally Cost/Sacrifice value is about the value for money of a product or service. In this phase, price is the strongest factor played upon. By claiming “Always low prices”, Wal-Mart reflects the value it offers as a brand throughout its distribution channels and in store.
While making promises, all these brands also offer experiences throughout their channels and implement this hand in hand with their architectural communication solution partners. Because while the essence of the brand is shaped by looking at its functional, symbolic, experiential, and cost-sacrifice value, the point where the product/service meets the customer must be able to feature the same values. Later on, instead of settling with only one communication agency with the evolving expectations of the consumer, brands, with their strategic platforms, are going to want the customer to experience the path that they would like to follow from the start at the point of purchase as well -with no semantic shift between agencies.
No matter how differentiating your communication strategy is, at the point of managing consumer perception, the biggest share will result in 1+1=3 with the staging effect of the product. What we see on TV, read on the magazine, hear on the radio about the product, will be shaped by the fact where and how we experience it in store. With so many parameters, the need for new generation communication agencies, which can generate architectural solutions, will increase in order to be able to bring the consumer value frame to life at the point of purchase.
POINTS THAT SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED IN ARCHITECTURAL SOLUTIONS:
To be able to keep your communication strategy in balance with the consumer psychology and the value you would like to offer the consumer, there are some points that must not be overlooked during visual commercialisation and architectural solution applications:
1. In-store Solutions:
While designing, one must start off from the core of the brand and move on taking into consideration new trends. All esthetic interventions that will impact the sales flow in store, make up visual commercialisation. In store solutions have a specific strategy; in its absence, consumers run into your product anywhere but the point where you wish to accentuate it and they touch it.
2. Focus on the service, not just the product touch points:
Window organisation, customer welcoming point, areas where customer questions are received, product presentation and narrations, quality and price indicators, product-service combinations, in-store points where the customer spends time with the product, complementary products, gesture points, promotion and discount options are all points of assessment within the complete picture for a product and they are critical for consumer perception.
3. Customer Experience:
It is necessary to stay within the value frame not only for the product’s window or in-store presentation, but throughout the whole shopping process where retailing intersects with customer experience. The core of the brand must be reflected through design at exchange and return points as well as at the check-out point where the conscience judgment takes place and these areas must support the main benefit of the brand.
Brand strategy needs to be planned simultaneously with the marketing and sales strategies. The store’s visual identity and concept should be born from a consensus.
5. Experience areas:
In the future, as online experience increases, being existent throughout the sales channels of the brand will not suffice; architectural solutions will be required to spot the consumer on the street in occasions he least expects and to be able to touch him.
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