Sensory Supply Chains

Sensory marketing aims to provide consumers with excitement, satisfaction and pleasure, with the focus on the sensory experience. Each of the five senses -smell, sound, sight, taste and touch- and all the senses together form the foundation of what is called the “sensory experience”.
A successful sensory marketing strategy taps certain beliefs, feelings, thoughts, and memories to create an image in the customer’s mind. For example, if the smell of fried onions and sausages ever makes you think of Bunnings, that is no accident.
The New Zealand supermarket chain, New World, stopped wrapping fruit and veggies in plastic as part of its “food in the nude campaign”.

Nigel Bond , the owner of one of the stores said “When we first set up the new shelving our customers were blown away. It reminded me of when I was a kid going to the fruiterer with my dad, you could smell the fresh citrus and spring onions. By wrapping products in plastic we sanitise and deprive people of this experience. After we introduced the concept we noticed sales of spring onions, for example, had increased by 300%,” he added. “There may have been other factors at play but we noticed similar increases in other vegetable varieties like silverbeet and radishes.” (from the New Zealand Herald.)
Of course, this type of sensory experience brings other challenges in terms of food safety and food waste but if we unpack what drives sensory experiences we can find some fresh ideas.
How much our senses contribute to the information we receive : Sight 83% Eyes, Sound 11% Ears, Smell 3.5% Nose, Touch 1.5% Skin/movement, Taste 1% Tongue. Source: Herbst/Musiolik 2015.
Our brains store experiences in neural networks. These networks are the building blocks of our memories and experiences. The more familiar we are with an experience the easier it is to activate or fire up one of these neural networks. Good marketing is all about activating consumer experience.

What does this all mean for fresh produce?

The digital world gives us is the ability to link sensory experiences – to create not just a supply chain but a sensory supply chain. What Nigel Bond experienced in his store was better sales growth delivered by a better consumer experience supported by sensory marketing . The opportunity we all have now is to begin activating the sensory experience before and after the consumer comes to the store.
What does a sensory supply chain look like?

At the HiveXchange we have been building one of the foundations for sensory supply chains. The supply chain should collect data while trades are being made between producers and wholesalers. Tie that sensory data to the trade and send it with trade offers into consumer facing distribution (e.g. retail and food services). The syncronisation of procurement with sensory information capture, can then be used to deliver consumers sensory information about the produce they will experience in store. Consumers themselves will then contribute to the sensory supply chain through sharing their own digital experience through menu sharing, videos, and pictures – both before and after purchase.

Smartphones are driven by touch and allow us to experience the world through video, sound, images, and stories.
We have an enormous opportunity to leverage our digital tool set to deliver more sensory depth and value to the joy of buying, eating, and sharing fresh produce.

Smartphones are only part of the story. Artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, and IoT are changing our supply chains in fundamental ways.

“Supply chain operations are under pressure to adopt new business models and technologies to excel in an increasingly complex and volatile world,” says C. Dwight Klappich, Vice President Analyst, Gartner. “Supply chain leaders must identify where to innovate and invest in new processes and technologies to help their companies remain relevant in their markets.”

Those investing and innovating will ensure their enterprises remain competitive in the future. Gartner supply chain predictions highlight the importance of emerging technologies and where supply chain leaders are finding value. source:

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