Consumers are demanding more from the in-store experience, and the expectations for pop-up stores are becoming even higher. Pop-up stores aren’t your traditional, everyday brick-and-mortar experience. Pop-up stores are special, and consumers want an exceptional experiential retail experience.

One way to make a memorable pop-up for customers is through creating a multi-sensory brand experience. Here’s how to engage all 5 senses for your next pop-up.


The sight of your storefront is often the first sensory impression your pop-up store has on shoppers. Sight refers to the expected components of your pop-up shop, such as signage, window displays, store layout and visual merchandising. Your sales associates are also visible to shoppers, so they should match the experience as well.

Storefront tip: choose a storefront that already has character so you can just build on it for your own pop-up store experience.


Sound is critical in terms of setting the stage and creating the right energy. Here, it comes down to understanding your audience and what type of experience they expect versus the one you want them to have. Some stores need to create high-energy experiences, while others exude a more relaxed, calming feel and the sounds should reflect that.

When considering the sound of your pop-up store, think about the following:

  • Music: Beyond the tempo, you also want to choose the right music for your pop-up store.
  • Volume: A younger target demographic is likely drawn in by a loud and lively environment. But if you have an older or more reserved audience, keep the volume lower. Also, if you want to encourage lots of interaction between sales staff and shoppers, loud music will detract from that experience.


One of the biggest differentiators between the online and in-person pop-up experience is tactility.

Appealing to the sense of touch goes beyond simply having the product on display for shoppers to interact with. While that’s an important experience to provide, product demos can go even further in making an impression, and bringing the product to life in creative ways.


Scent evokes emotional memories more powerfully than the other four senses. For some brands, incorporating scent marketing is straightforward: Food brands can promote the scent of their products, while perfume or bath products’ scent can also be highlighted.

When Nike added scent to their stores, they increased intent to purchase by 80%. During the holidays, adding ambient scent (such as pine and spices) can increase sales — as long as its congruent “with consumers’ expectations or preferences regarding a retail store and its merchandise.”


Taste becomes either easier or more difficult, depending on your brand. If have a food or beverage product, offering samples at your pop-up store is one way to appeal to the sense of taste. Try offering a tasting bar in your store if it goes along with your pop-up theme and concept.

Putting It All Together

Though isolating each sense can help you come up with creative ideas, you’ll be even more effective when considering everything from a holistic perspective. How do each of these components work together to round out the desired pop-up experience? The isolated sensory components of your pop-up store should match and complement one another.

Plan your next pop-up, from budgets to location, with the ultimate pop-up guide >

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