Our skin has more than 4,000,000 sensory receptors. Our hands are an important link between our brains and the world. In fact, as humans, we have more tactile receptors in our little fingers alone than we do on our entire back.
These receptors help us explore objects in our surroundings. When we encounter a pleasant touch, the brain releases a hormone called oxytocin, leading to feelings of well-being and calm.
In research terms, this sense of touch is referred to as our haptic sense. (comes from the Greek word haptikos that means “I fasten onto, I touch”). Today, haptics is mostly considered a tactile feedback technology which takes advantage of the sense of touch.
Haptics also plays a great role when it comes to packaging design, or even in some advertising campaigns. It is a perfect way for getting close to consumer’s unconsciousness, their perceptions, feelings and tastes. It is the only sense that has a physical and emotional connection with your product.
Researchers have found that shoppers who touch a product are more likely to purchase, even as it relates to impulse buys. They’ve also found, logically, that the ability to touch a product increases our confidence in the item’s quality.
Hulten, Bertil, Niklas Broweur, and Marcus Van Dijk. Sensory Marketing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009
Sensory Branding. 024 Zona, May, 2012