The store of the future: Engaging customers through sensory elements, personalized atmospherics, and interpersonal interaction

Courtney Szocs, Yeseul Kim, Mikyoung Lim, Christian Arroyo Mera, Dipayan Biswas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


An increasingly competitive retail landscape, new technological innovations, and evolving consumer needs present challenges and opportunities for physical stores. To maintain a competitive advantage, brick-and-mortar retailers must leverage the store environment to curate a captivating experience that cannot be emulated online. Drawing on the competencies that differentiate physical stores from their digital counterparts, as well as evolving consumer expectations, the current research identifies three levers that managers should use to design pleasurable shopping experiences in stores of the future. First, managers can increase their focus on sensory elements (e.g., visuals, scents, sounds, haptics, taste) and use these elements to curate pleasurable, multisensory in-store experiences. Second, managers should consider gravitating from the current one-size-fits-all approach to atmospherics in favor of environments that are personalized and customizable to suit individual consumer tastes. Finally, managers can re-evaluate employee responsibilities, make space for customer-to-customer interactions, and host in-store events to offer optimal levels of interpersonal interaction. After highlighting marketplace examples that provide initial evidence of each lever, individual level factors that likely moderate the effects of each lever on the in-store experience are discussed. Finally, future research opportunities are identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-620
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Marketing

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