Creating Sensory Experiences in a No-Touch World

Margo Jay
5 min readApr 22, 2021

There’s no denying that people enjoy sensory experiences. In fact, some of us seek them out, even crave them. Whether it’s delighting our taste buds with a new culinary experience or jamming to the music through our earbuds, we live for sensation.

One sensation we often forget about is touch. The tactile is easy to overlook. Yet it’s so important to many of our experiences-especially when we’re shopping or even enjoying a meal.

In our brave new world, though, people are stuck in a sort of catch-22. We both want and crave physical sensation, like touch, but we’re also somewhat leery of it.

One question for Marketers as we move forward has to be about how we can continue to deliver high-quality experiences in a no-touch world.

The No-Touch Conundrum

So, we’re creatures that thrive on sensation. Even if we don’t always think about the tactile, it’s key for so many reasons.

We need physical touch from other human beings. That’s been proven by the fact that people who get eight hugs per day tend to be healthier and happier.

Touch can also be an important part of simple tasks, like walking and balancing. Tactile feedback received through our footstrikes inform our body systems. That feedback helps us balance and stay upright, even while we’re in motion.

And touch can play a key role in buying decisions. You might decide to buy one cozy pair of winter socks over another because they feels softer and fuzzier. You might decide not to buy a pair of jeans because you don’t like the feel of them.

Touch even impacts our experience of brands, particularly through packaging. Thicker, glossier paper used for your ads suggests you have a more luxurious brand. Customers can feel the quality of the paper, and they associate it with wealth. A matte finish box, the weight of a product in hand, can also impress on our sense of how upscale or luxurious a brand is.

Yet, in the current environment, we’ve become hyper-concerned about touch. If you’re brave enough to go into a shop, do you want to touch all the clothes on the rack? Who else has had their germy hands on that pair of pants or that pair of socks? Staff aren’t…

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Margo Jay
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Marketing & Brand Expert | Customer Empath | Master Strategist | Deeper Insight | Finding extraordinary value | Driving competitive advantage |365integrated.com