In this information era, companies who aren’t achieving their sales goals have easier access to the tools and data needed to determine what’s holding them back from achieving greatness. Still, even with all of this working in their favor, gauging consumers’ preferences directly is still the most effective means of figuring out what changes are needed. A recent Toluna QuickSurveys survey gauged 800 consumers’ views on the various factors that influence purchasing decisions. Based on that feedback, here are several tips and tricks that will differentiate companies and finally meet (and potentially beat) their sales goals.

Ambience Goes a Long Way

Cleanliness is next to godliness in the eyes of your consumer. An overwhelming 91 percent of respondents deemed cleanliness and organization of a store as important in influencing their purchasing decisions, while only 3% consider it as unimportant. Outside of cleanliness, there are several other factors that can influence whether or not a consumer considers their shopping experience pleasant: background music, store-specific scents, and mannequins with outfit examples are all factors that contribute to a pleasant shopping experience for over 75 percent of consumers.

Moreover, at least 89 percent of consumers felt that labeled sections or aisles, access to testers or free samples, and clear promotional signage were imperative to a pleasant shopping experience. Companies looking to increase their in-store sales need to work harder to incorporate more of these pleasantries into their business model. Interestingly, 58 percent of respondents claimed they were more likely to overspend or buy extra items in store that weren’t planned purchases, compared to the 33 percent who said they’re more likely to overspend online. This further illustrates the massive importance of providing a pleasant atmosphere at brick-and-mortar locations.

You Have to Give to Get

This one goes without saying, but consumers will always enjoy saving money and finding the best value possible. 79 percent of survey respondents said they are more likely to buy a product if it is on sale, while another 44 percent stated that when an item is advertised as a great deal, it makes it that much more attractive to them. Further illustrating the efficacy of promotions, 93% of respondents said they would buy something prematurely if there was a discount available to them, while 25 percent of those people said they always do so. How does slashing prices benefit you? Well, purely from a volume standpoint, there’s overwhelming evidence here to suggest that promotions and increases in sales directly correlate. The real key to translating that into a successful model is finding a happy balance, where you’re offering discounts and other incentives but still profiting.

While research strongly suggests that online shopping is the future of commerce, that hasn’t necessarily taken hold yet, as 62 percent of respondents said they still shop in-store most frequently, compared to 36 percent who prefer to shop online more often than not. Sixty-two percent also said they’re more likely to use coupons in-store. Even if e-commerce eventually becomes the societal norm, there will still be benefits to shopping in-store that will always be hard to replicate in the online experience, especially for products that require customization (i.e. glasses). One of those elements is the social aspect, which is a huge factor in whether or not consumers find the in-store shopping experience to be pleasant. In fact, 82 percent of consumers prefer shopping with a friend while 79 percent prefer shopping with a family member. Any promotions that can incentivize customers to shop with their friends and/or family members could be integral to driving sales.

Timing is Everything

Did you know 46 percent of consumers are only willing to wait in line for less than an hour – even if the product on the other end of that line is one they badly want? Another 12 percent of consumers aren’t even willing to wait in line for any product whatsoever. In an era in which consumers are increasingly accustomed to having their needs met on demand, companies need to incorporate a speedy experience into their business model if they hope to stand out.

Though this can be a difficult balance to achieve, as 63 percent of consumers buy new products within the first month of their release, while 24 percent of those respondents said they buy the product within the first day of its release. So how can companies address this influx of demand? For starters, they can add multiple checkout counters to improve the logistical process of purchasing, which 91 percent of consumers felt makes for a more pleasant shopping experience. Additionally, they can start promoting the product launch well in advance and offer pre-ordering, which 24 percent of consumers indicated is their preferred method of purchasing new products.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, more consumers prefer to handle their shopping on the weekends. In this survey, respondents selected Monday-Thursday as the least common days for them to carry out their shopping, while Friday and Saturday were overwhelmingly preferred with 34% and 42% of respondents selecting these dates, respectively. This means that launching your product on a weekday is noticeably inhibiting your ability to maximize sales on both sides of the coin.