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2023 | Book

Multisensory in Stationary Retail

Principles and Practice of Customer-Centered Store Design

Editors: Gunnar Mau, Markus Schweizer, Christoph Oriet

Publisher: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden


About this book

This book describes how an optimal store design can contribute to the well-being of the customer and to differentiation from online retail. From an academic and practical perspective, with contributions from renowned academics and companies, it shows how a coherent store design can be created in harmony with the retail brand.

The central challenge here is the conscious orchestration of the diverse sensory stimuli. How can the many sources of stimuli be controlled? Which shelf shape goes with which light, colour and sound? Dealing with the variety of stimuli in a store environment can quickly become complex and incongruence can have a decisive negative impact on the well-being of customers. A customer-centric store environment therefore focuses on the well-being of people.

Renowned scientists and traders show the state of the science on these issues and give valuable suggestions for the trade. With best practice examples and valuable suggestions for practical implementation

Table of Contents


Part I

1. Multisensory in Stationary Retail: Principles and Practice in Customer-Centered Store Design – Neuromerchandising at the Point of Sale

How do we as humans perceive the sales space in stationary retail and what is the basis for our behaviour? As much as we are proud of our modern shopping places: We cannot overlook the fact that the basic principle of the design of these shopping places has not changed for millennia. What we want to achieve with multisensory in stationary retail is to create an atmosphere in which people feel comfortable, and not just in relation to specific target groups, but to all customers. If you’re serious about multisensory in stationary retail, it doesn’t make sense to focus on one or two sensory perceptions. But that is often the approach. Most mistakes made in brick-and-mortar retail come from not taking into account the contextual nature of human perception. Only if all elements of multi-sensory perception, such as materials, colours, sound and scent, are in context with each other, can a continuous positive perception be created.

Achim Fringes
2. The Emotional Organization: Feelings, Senses, Consciousness

Stationary Retail is challenged to reform itself. The shopper leads the way and demands multichannel opportunities. Highlights in every respect and customer-binding discount opportunities are supposed to persuade the potential customer to buy. Customers want the ultimate shopping experience across all their senses, they want to be excited, engaged and surprised, otherwise they won’t buy! Shopfitters are challenged – the POS, POI or POP has to fulfil all these factors, so the general opinion goes, otherwise stationary retail will not stay in the game. But what exactly leads the customer on our sales floor? CDA centre d’ambiance™ has been dealing with people and their unconscious actions for over 25 years. CDA works with its own conceptual approach and developed the FMA© Color Method Analysis, a unique basic tool for building multisensory interior designs. With insights from research, reports of experiences and clear questioning of existing and generally known procedures, CDA shows a slightly different point of view.

Beat Grossenbacher, Brigitte Mäder
3. Perception Research and Its Significance for Retail Marketing and Shopper Research

Every person lives in his or her own world of perception. Normally, when shopping in a department store, consumers do not consciously perceive all the thousands of items available there, but concentrate on a selection and put together their own shopping basket, which differ from those of other customers, quite individually. This is a consequence of their perception. Perception is a subjective, selective and constructive process. In the context of this paper, we will first explain the concept of perception and point out that perception is usually a complex interaction of different sensory organs, whereby the individual ultimately attempts to form a cognitive representation of the environment (e.g., a shopping place). Visual perception is particularly relevant here. In addition to conscious perception unconscious perception at the point-of-sale (POS) plays a crucial role. Background music at the POS, for example, is often only experienced subconsciously, but it can influence our behavior. Perception is always contextual, the context can influence how we perceive the environment. For example, many consumers will probably perceive and subsequently buy freshly baked bread if a corresponding scent can be smelled at the POS. The context, in turn, can be designed accordingly. This article discusses the relevance of perception research for explaining consumer behavior at the POS as well as practical conclusions for (retail) marketing.

Andrea Gröppel-Klein
4. From Bottom-Up to Top-Down in the Store Environment: Multisensuality Using the Example of Background Music

Consumers react to external stimuli they encounter in store environments, especially if they are unexpected, novel, or salient. Often, however, consumers do not go shopping purely driven by stimuli, but rather driven by goals. In this case, they selectively pay attention to those stimuli that presumably bring them closer to their consumption goals. With the knowledge of the mechanisms of this goal-oriented top-down perception, retailers can design their assortment and the store environment in such a way that they become relevant for certain target groups. In the further course it will be shown, using the example of background music, that stimulus perception does not refer to individual characteristic expressions of environmental stimuli in isolation, but that multisensuality – entirely in the sense of Gestalt psychology – is an interaction of sensory perceptions. Finally, recommendations for musical design at the POS are derived from various studies on the effect of music.

Georg Felser, Patrick Hehn
5. Looked at and Bought? How Extrinsic and Intrinsic Product Characteristics Influence Food Purchases

With an average product range of 40,000 items per grocery store and only a few seconds for consumers to make a decision at the point of sale, it is essential that food manufacturers provide meaningful and fast information. Legally regulated labelling elements for food range from ingredient, nutritional and quantity information to health and environmental claims. However, by using additional product attributes in a promotionally effective way, companies can succeed in drawing attention to their products and distinguishing themselves from competitors. This chapter shows how extrinsic and intrinsic product attributes are used to encourage consumers to buy food. Extrinsic attributes focus on aspects of packaging design (e.g., colour) and food advertising (e.g., sensory claims, product labels). With regard to intrinsic product characteristics, the appearance and taste of a food product play a particularly important role in influencing the consumer’s decision to buy.

Claudia Symmank
6. Identifying Brand Values and Staging Them Multisensually

The optimal design of the message, elements, signals and assessment (MESA) of the brand is central to brand success. Starting from a clearly defined, distinct message (identity) of the brand, which is determined on the basis of the CORE criteria and converted into a brand profile, suitable primary and secondary brand elements can then be selected and (further) developed over time. The different brand elements can be combined into four types of multisensual brand signals: products, environments, media and people (PEMP). Based on this, brand awareness and the brand image anchored in the minds of customers must be continuously recorded. As a result, the four-stage MESA approach ensures that companies identify high-profile brand values for their brands and effectively stage them multi-sensually in order to inspire employees and customers alike and get them interested in the brand(s).

Karsten Kilian
7. Synthesis: Multisensory – Perception with All Senses

The multisensory experience is often described as a central opportunity for stationary retail. Better than in other channels, customers can be reached, stimulated and excited via all senses. In order to use this potential, an understanding of the mechanisms behind the experience is necessary: What do sensory impressions trigger in us? How do we comprehend and interpret these impressions? And what does this mean for strategic retail management? These questions are addressed in the first part of the book. It becomes clear that perception is always selective and constructive. It should therefore be carefully considered which sensory messages are sent out. A sales area that is too busy and unharmonious can quickly have a counterproductive effect. Retailers should rather create an optimal stage so that the intended message reaches the customer in a well-formed way.

Gunnar Mau, Markus Schweizer, Agnes Fleischer

Part II

8. Retail in Times of New Work: Thoughts on the Renaissance of Stationary Trade

In order to offer customers a feel-good atmosphere in stationary retail, this must be wanted with all its consequences so that it can be authentically felt by the customer. Martin Kiel therefore pleads for retail to return to synchronous communication. People need people, otherwise they might as well be served by robots. At the same time, employees as people have needs that must also be taken into account in the age of New Work. For this to succeed, work processes must also be thoroughly rethought and, if necessary, adapted.

Martin Kiel, Markus Schweizer
9. Selling Comes from Understanding: Retail Is Always the Encounter of People

Well-being as a success factor for Retail? The true success driver of the future is the ROK, the “Return on Kindness.” This article shows why it is so important for a positive shopping experience that not only customers but also employees feel good in a stationary store; emotions are an universal language and they are very contagious – the negative as well as the positive ones. If you avoid negative emotions and instead welcome your customers into your store with a good mood, it pays off. Why this is so and what processes are going on in our body, you can read here.

Bert Martin Ohnemüller
10. Stationary Retail from the Perspective of Digital Natives

Digital natives have little fear of the online world. They are gladly and often served by the popular online providers such as Amazon and Netflix at home and would actually hardly have to leave their homes for everyday errands. And yet: the door to stationary retail is not closed per se. It’s just that there doesn’t seem to be a compelling reason to go offline. It is time for stationary retailers to return to their original strengths and engage with younger customers. Philipp Riederle, himself a digital native, explains in an interview exactly how this can be done.

Philipp Riederle, Markus Schweizer
11. The Trust Advantage of Stationary Shops

The Corona crisis has impressively shown that shopping is more than a rational act. Shops are social meeting places at all times of the day, where people like to spend time, observe others and meet acquaintances. The article shows that brick-and-mortar retail has a trust advantage over online shopping, and how important it is to use new technologies with a sense of proportion. After all, technologies can take on an unethical shape if they are only there to increase retailers’ sales. In the long term, the retailers who are successful are those who have an ethical compass, can offer their employees meaningful work and consistently focus on the needs of their customers.

Cornelia Diethelm
12. Best Practices for AI in Retail: Also for Multisensory?

Meanwhile, there is no doubt about the realization that brick-and-mortar retailers need to reinvent themselves. For example, stationary retailers in the city are often struggling with declining customer numbers and stagnating sales, while online retailers continue to grow and are becoming a growth driver for the entire retail industry. Against this background, new solutions are required. In this regard, artificial intelligence (AI) systems can support retailers, especially in personalized customer advice and customer communication. For example, smart displays recognize products selected by the customer and recommend suitable additional items, such as with Amazon 4-Star. Or employees can provide personalized advice to their customers with the help of AI-supported tablets, such as at Zara. Payment is then made without stopping at the checkout by image recognition of the purchased goods and by accessing the digital customer account, as for example at Amazon Go. In this respect, it makes sense for the stationary retail trade to deal intensively with the topic of AI.

Gerrit Heinemann, Kerstin Sonntag, Marcus Groß
13. Digital Presence in Physical Shopping: From a “Benefit-Oriented Approach” to Successful Customer Engagement

Customer-centric implementation means that in the course of implementation, the focus is on the target group of customers and we have to concentrate on their senses, i.e., multisensory communication with the customer. This communication must first and foremost be goal-oriented and also beneficial for the end customer. In addition, a holistic approach to implementation is necessary, which takes both the retailer and the end customer into account. This consideration must be applied to the entire customer journey, the individual customer touchpoints, the corresponding customer experiences and the customer engagements to be expected from them. In this chapter, this approach is explained using examples on the one hand and a proven consulting methodology on the other. The developed model makes it possible to develop multisensory experiences in a simple and structured way in order to realize and operate successful, customer-centric implementations with meaningful embedding of technologies along the entire sales process.

Pierre Gervais Farine
14. Consumer Experience Through the Use of Mixed Reality in Shopping Environments

Dressing rooms are one of the most important elements in the clothing business. Despite their importance for both customers and businesses, their appearance and function have hardly changed in the last 100 years. This paper presents the concept of an interactive changing room developed based on a human-centered design approach. A combination of various technologies such as RFID, touch-sensitive surfaces as well as powerwalls is used to create an immersive, virtual and multi-sensory shopping experience. In addition to supporting the customer during the fitting and buying process by offering detailed product information, the system also enables the connection to independent recommendation systems and social networks. The system is specifically geared towards the target group of Generation Z, i.e., 14–25 year olds, and aims to create a completely new experience by enhancing the emotional aspects. Design recommendations are derived that can be transferred to other systems.

Christian Zagel
15. Synthesis: Phygital – The Dawn of a New Age of the Senses

Digitization has given rise to completely new shopping opportunities that can quickly become a (perceived) threat to brick-and-mortar retail. The discourse too often revolves around an “either or.” Phygital describes the best of both worlds – physical and digital. With phygital business models, entirely new worlds of experience can be developed that have the potential to replace the (laborious) compulsory purchase. The first step is to remember the original strengths of stationary retail: social contact, curation, immediacy, advice, experience and trust. The next step is to make targeted use of digital services to make the shopping experience even more pleasant for the customer. With a clear value proposition, it is possible to skilfully set impulses again and move from being a driven to a shaper.

Gunnar Mau, Markus Schweizer, Agnes Fleischer

Part III

16. Turning a Shopping Location Into a Brand!
The Experience with All Senses and the Embedding in Our Motivational Landscape Makes the Brand

I make brands by addressing the relevant motivators of the addressees in a credible and understandable way and leading them to an emotional connection. Then, in all my marketing processes, I have to deliver on my promise and make it tangible and tangible. In doing so, I have an easier time as a shopping destination appealing to my shoppers, but a much harder time in all my marketing processes and outlets making the promise tangible. For this reason, any mistake in positioning is like intravenous poison or at least ineffective and wasted money. Listen carefully as you read.

Hermann W. Braun
17. New Customer Acquisition and Lasting Customer Loyalty Through Holistic Branch Design

The competitive situation in retail has intensified significantly in recent years. Many formats are vying for the favour of customers. In addition, the profiles of the players are adapting more and more. Moreover, customers are becoming more and more demanding and are quite ambivalent in their needs. Hard facts are becoming less important when it comes to choosing a place to shop. A good feeling and a pleasant shopping experience are becoming more important. Retailers who want to stay ahead of the competition and retain their customers in the long term must address the various dimensions of their customers’ needs and gear the entire shopping location to them. The total store approach with its ten building blocks provides concrete clues as to how multisensory aspects can also be sufficiently taken into account when optimizing stores. According to Wikipedia, the term “shopping” stands for an activity in which goods or products are procured in exchange for money in order to satisfy a need. However, those who study this topic know that shopping is a much more complex process than previously mentioned. Moreover, the shopping process of customers as well as their shopping behavior has changed a lot over the past decades. This development has experienced a completely new dynamic in recent years and it is to be expected that this movement will accelerate and intensify in the future.

Birgit Schröder
18. The New Goldmine: The Perfect Customer Portal in the Physical World

Personal encounters are unbeatable. In many ways. Here you will learn how to turn a store project into the ultimate portal. The success characteristics for a distinctive store personality are highlighted as well as hip current trends that will give you the decisive kick. You will receive guidance and the necessary tools to launch groundbreaking new store types that create value on all levels: for you as an entrepreneur (cost efficiency), for your employees (identification) and the people who walk through the portal (enthusiasm).Many thanks to Tom Zürcher ( for liquefying dry marketing texts as well as to Gerald Marxer, Fabienne Lemaire and Philipp Elkuch from LKW for the groundbreaking project ( and ) and the permission to publish information about the project.

Marion Marxer
19. Staging Luxury Brands Multisensually at the Point of Sale

For luxury brands in particular, there are many opportunities for multi-sensual staging. Particularly suitable for this are own luxury brand shops, which in this way develop from a point of sale to a point of experience. They offer customers the opportunity to experience the brand with all their senses. Starting with the specifics of multisensual marketing and luxury goods marketing, the goals and strategies for luxury brands at the point of sale are examined in more detail. Based on this, the possibilities of visual, haptic, acoustic, olfactory and gustatory customer appeal in luxury brand shops are discussed, whereby both perception mechanisms and design possibilities are analysed. Following on from this, possibilities for the multisensual staging of “luxury” are described. Finally, the limits of multisensual brand staging are discussed and a three-stage approach for multisensual branding is presented.

Karsten Kilian, Alina Hacopian
20. Multisensory in Implementation: From Corporate Strategy to Holistic Store Concept
Field Report of a Retail Designer

The topic of “multisensory” exerts an almost magical fascination on marketing and retail managers. Countless studies flood us with ever new insights into the effects and possibilities of sensory marketing. But in reality, we rarely encounter a harmonious overall concept that is attuned to all the senses. Why is the implementation so difficult? The big step from theory to practice: How does the corporate strategy get onto the surface? Often the way is already (almost) the goal and already the analysis phase decides on the success of the concept. But which heuristics help to reduce complexity in the planning phase? Are there generally valid rules for a successful overall experience? When is it time to part with a good idea in order to create a functioning whole? And does the smell of cinnamon actually go with blue wall paint? We venture into the everyday life of retail designers and let you in on our ideas for solutions and suggestions for implementation. We’ll show you what always helps us to stay on course and still break new ground. Multisensory in implementation – an approach.

Hannah Sondermann
21. LAGO by the Lake: Shopping Experience with All Senses
The LAGO Shopping Center in Constance and Its “LAGO 2025” Project

Dynamic, changeable and an experience in itself: this describes Lake Constance and the LAGO Shopping Center in Constance, the largest city on Lake Constance and a tourist magnet in the immediate vicinity of Switzerland with its high purchasing power. But those in the retail industry who rest on their current high visitor numbers seem to be completely unaware of many global trends. LAGO, never known in the industry for its resistance to change, has been working continuously and at great expense on its future viability since 2017 as part of the “LAGO 2025” project. The declared goal: to offer an urban and modern shopping experience with an exclusive “lake feeling.” The steps towards this goal: a unique tenant mix with metropolitan quality and individual concepts for different target groups; the generation of an atmospheric and coherent atmosphere in the center with Lake Constance as the leitmotif; an attention-grabbing advertising campaign with high recognition value that also makes the lake its theme.

Peter Herrmann
22. Accompanied from World to World: Multisensory in a Supermarket Using the Example of Swiss Migros

Anyone who has ever landed at Zurich airport will remember being greeted first by Roger Federer, Switzerland’s most famous tennis player. Federer cheerfully says “Hello!” and invites the passing passengers to take a selfie with him. Most take a quick notice of him and move on. Then the airlock opens, and passengers are among the shelves of the duty-free shop. Or we are standing on the escalator of a department store and a sound shower descends on us. Interrupted by offers, the music warbles away, giving us the feeling of being lifted. Or we are drawn into a fashion store by the smell of a soft perfume. As a rule, we are not consciously aware of this – our concentration is directed at something else: orientation. It is only later that we make the decision to buy this or that product that was just advertised, when the escalator pulled us up to the pans or led us down to the food department. Or when, while waiting for our suitcase at the airport, a branch of the major bank Credit Suisse comes into view. Roger Federer advertises for Credit Suisse.

Christoph Oriet
23. Creating Value Through Value Creation: How the Stationary Grocery Trade Creates Added Value for Its Customers in Times of Online Competition

Compared to other sectors, the grocery trade offers customers a high added value that can hardly be imitated by online offers. In this chapter, the unique selling propositions of bricks-and-mortar retailing are first outlined, followed by the most important approaches that can support the creation of new and the strengthening of known customer added values. The focus is on value-creating activities at the point of sale, the supporting use of IT and technology, dynamic space management and the promotion of a proactive controlling system. With the help of the analyses presented, measures can be formulated and implemented immediately to further increase customer added value in the future.

Philipp Rieländer
24. Learning Journey to Optimise the Sales Floor: How to Use Our Understanding of Customer Behaviour

We still generate the largest retail sales not online, but on site. For this reason, it is advisable to invest specifically in the further development of stationary trade. This chapter shows how to respond to the needs of customers as well as how to achieve higher sales and profits. After all, despite cost pressures, there are good and proven methods for incorporating actual customer behavior into the optimization of store and shelf space. How does the space affect people and how do we behave in it – consciously and unconsciously? With the help of in-store tracking, the sales floor can be used as a test studio and hypotheses can be tested directly and unbiased. The following findings are based on the results of eye-tracking studies and video analyses. To give just one example: Customers perceive only 1% of the products in the store. Which factors play a role in this?

Jan Hillesland
25. Brand-Adequate Implementation of Plant Tours: An Approach to Analyse the Opportunities and Risks of Multisensual Brand Communication Using the Example of the BMW Plant in Leipzig

With the plant tour, companies get a form of experiential communication at hand that can convey the brand values of the company. Plant tours are permanently designed for personal, direct and interactive encounters with the target group and can have an enormous effect if played out correctly. However, since production can only be designed to suit the brand to a limited extent, everything else that can be seen, tasted, felt and experienced during a guided tour must be optimally adapted to the various senses and the brand values to be conveyed. In cooperation with the BMW plant in Leipzig, a practical approach for analysing the brand adequacy and multi-sensuality of plant tours was developed. It is the basis of a process plan that can serve as a guide for companies with plant tours to take the right steps towards successful implementation.

Evelyn Kästner
26. Synthesis: Total Store – Thinking and Acting Holistically

If you look at multisensory technology on a higher level, you quickly encounter the total store approach. The sensory stimuli are configured in such a way that on the one hand the value proposition is optimally expressed and on the other hand the customer feels comfortable in the space. This requires customer-centric thinking or empathy in order to harmonize the individual design elements. An undertaking that can quickly lead to a complexity trap. The presented methods and tools can help to make the Total Store manageable in practice. Categories are no longer polished to a high gloss individually, but coordinated with each other and brought together to form a (multi-sensory) work of art.

Gunnar Mau, Markus Schweizer, Agnes Fleischer

Part IV

27. Agile Organizational Concepts for Retail Companies in Times of Digitalization: Design and Management of Agile Organizational Structures for More Competitiveness in the Face of Changing Customer Needs

Technological change and changes in customer behavior present retail companies with structural challenges. Digitalization is driving demands for omni-channel offerings, innovative services at the POS and experience-oriented store concepts. Selective measures are no longer sufficient in stationary retail to remain competitive. A comprehensive transformation to agile organizational concepts is required. Only those who can react flexibly to changing needs without rigid hierarchies and departmental thinking in agile structures will be able to survive on the market in the long term. This article shows how agile values can be integrated into organisational structures in the retail sector in view of changing customer requirements in the VUKA world. Solutions are offered by agile organizational forms such as the dual company and the project-oriented organization. For control purposes, instances such as the “Chief Entrepreneur” and “Chief Digital Officer” as well as the strategic project management office enable a common goal orientation of all participants of the network-like, agile organizational forms.

Martina Peuser
28. Customer Centricity as a Management Guideline

According to a study by Capgemini, 75% of companies claim to be customer-centric. But how many companies really are? Not even a handful (Taylor et al. The Disconnected Customer. What digital customer experience leaders teach us about reconnecting with customers, Capgemini Group, Paris, 2017, p. 9). Where is it often lacking? In holistic consistent understanding. Organization and culture. There are only a handful of German companies which I would classify as truly customer-centric. Why? Because – as is so often the case – many companies are not concerned with customer experience. They are not about the customer. Not about the human being. They are simply about selling. Of software. Of trade show tickets. Whatever. Of course, selling is essential to the survival of any business. But at what cost? And isn’t there more?

Johannes Ceh
29. Culture Change: Challenges and Success Factors for Digital Transformation

In December 2015, the shareholders Dr. Michael Otto and Benjamin Otto, as well as the seven members of the Executive Board of the Otto Group at that time, appeared before all employees of the Group. In doing so, they initiated the most far-reaching change in the company’s 70-year history: Kulturwandel 4.0, which calls for and promotes a rethinking of previous ways of thinking and behaving in order to sustainably change the way we work (together) in the Group and to ensure its success. Kulturwandel 4.0 requires strength to endure all the uncertainties and challenges that are inevitably embedded in the process. This article describes the approach to such a comprehensive change process and the associated challenges, as well as outlining initial best practices and insights regarding possible success factors. It becomes clear that the digital transformation entails far more than technological changes. This is also described using the example of stationary retail.

Svenja Reinecke, Tobias Krüger
30. Culture Change 4.0: The HEINE Transformation in the Digital Age

This chapter deals with the digital transformation of Heinrich Heine GmbH in the period from 2015 to 2019. The question is how relevance can be achieved sustainably with female customers – and this in a competitive environment characterized by GAFA companies. In this article, the main measures of the implementation are described, evaluated and, finally, the learnings of the digital transformation of Heine are summarized.

Jürgen Habermann
31. Glasses in a Design-Savvy Environment with Fashionable Competence

When you enter a nondescript office in a Zurich neighborhood, you feel like you’re in the middle of the living room of a hipster shared apartment. Between the table football game, kitchenette and lounge area, friends are passionately working on an idea to inspire the fashion-conscious glasses wearer. What is remarkable is the lightness that is in the air, even with now over 50 flagship stores, and with which the services are smoothly adapted to the needs of potential customers. The business model features a clearly recognizable script from the brand core to the store design – carried by the entire community and the pioneering spirit. A positive energy that is missing in many traditional retailers.

Kilian Wagner, Markus Schweizer
32. Synthesis: Mindset – Anchoring Customer Centricity in the Company

A quintessence of the present contributions is: The key to the success of multisensory management is to know and address people, respectively their perceptions and motives. This outlines an important – if not the most important – challenge for retail management: If you want to remain relevant for customers in times of dynamic markets, you have to align your own organization and all processes with the customers’ wishes. What sounds banal, however, too often fails in retail practice. Three fields of action are in focus: culture, structure and control. This article provides relevant impulses for all three fields.

Gunnar Mau, Markus Schweizer, Agnes Fleischer
Multisensory in Stationary Retail
Gunnar Mau
Markus Schweizer
Christoph Oriet
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