Multisensory products speak to a variety of senses such as smell, taste, look, and feel. But how to create a multisensory customer experience online? Students from the University of Liechtenstein have explored that question in cooperation with Liechtenstein-based startups and SMEs.

Students at the University of Liechtenstein are developing digital business ideas in cooperation with Liechtenstein-based startups and small businesses. The focus of the university’s “Digital Business” seminars this year was multisensory products. The students presented creative ideas and innovative solutions on marketing multisensory products digitally using a variety of senses.

Multisensory products are – as the name suggests – products that speak to different senses, such as spirits or food. People can smell, feel, see, and taste them. For businesses marketing these products, creating a multisensory customer experience is key to generating sales. While that might be relatively easy to accomplish in a traditional storefront, the challenge students and businesses addressed was how to create such multisensory experiences in the age of online sales?

Digitizing sales

The topic fits especially to Liechtenstein’s business environment. On the one hand, Liechtenstein is home to many multisensory products such as wine, beer, coffee, or cosmetics. On the other hand, Liechtenstein is also a frontrunner in terms of digitalization. So how to combine both aspects?

On top of that, the restrictions imposed by the Corona pandemic in the past few months forced all companies to digitize their sales rapidly. Smaller companies in Liechtenstein, in particular, faced significant difficulties in marketing their multisensory products online.

Against this background, students from eleven nations worked closely over five months with seven small companies and startups in Liechtenstein. Among the partner companies were 32peaks, Demmel Kaffee, Duatguat, HZ Weinbau, Liechtenkind, Prinzenbräu and Wicca’s. While the seminar offered students the opportunity to gain practical experience, the companies benefited from new, creative ideas.

“The students developed a variety of solutions for new business opportunities and new ways to market Liechtenstein’s range of multisensory products,” explains Katharina Drechsler, who helped design the course. In addition to creativity and innovative strength, the feasibility of the proposed solutions was also an important criterion.

Solutions and ideas

There was a great variety of ideas: One seminar group focused on the gamification aspect, meaning applying game-typical elements in a non-game context online. That’s, for example, something financial companies increasingly incorporate in their offerings. Trading apps such as Robinhood attract younger customers by making investing fun and a game-like experience. The jury is still out on whether or not that’s actually a good idea. 

Other groups developed new product ideas, such as blind tasting packages. Also, many new approaches were developed for the website of the respective partner company. Here the students dealt with the question of how sensory impressions can be digitally represented. While one group developed flavor profiles for each product of the partner company to represent the multisensory product digitally, others focused on the story and personality of the founders to show the appeal of the products.

All ideas were finally presented as prototypes in presentations on June 25 and subsequently distributed to the companies. The seminars were found to be a great success and also demonstrate the focus of the University of Liechtenstein to contribute to the country’s digital ecosystem.

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