With the rise of online shopping, traditional retail stores and even online retailers struggle to integrate online convenience with brick-and-mortar buying. Every retailer’s goal is to create a seamless omnichannel experience that effortlessly flows between online utility and in-store experience. The term “experiential retail” is used to describe the physical stores that thrive in the new omnichannel retail universe—even though people like the ease of ordering online and having products delivered straight to their home, most people will still make the trip to visit a physical retail store for the experience.
Experiences that people seek can vary greatly:
- Personal services (e.g. nail and beauty salons)
- Health and fitness facilities (e.g. yoga, massage and gyms)
- Cinemas and theaters that offer both films as well as live events (e.g. plays, comedy and concerts)
- Art galleries and stores
Therefore, retailers have recognized that they need to adapt to accommodate consumer needs and offer authentic experiences to draw people into stores. For example, arts and crafts shops may offer classes for activities such as quilting or model making, and some grocery stores incorporate food and wine bars that allow shoppers to enjoy a meal or drink. These kinds of experiences make real world shopping personalized and appealing—customers are given opportunities to try out products before making the commitment to purchase them.
The key question is: what does the shift to experiential retail mean for retail developers and property owners? It’s making an immense impact on the formats of retail spaces—some types of stores are dialing down the scale of their space to better market certain goods, while other stores scale up for a supermarket appeal. The idea of experiential marketing narrows down to the focus of creating pleasant and interactive experiences that appeal to the senses. Retailers must consider and understand the shopper’s journey in order to implement strategies throughout multiple marketing channels. When pushing a product, retailers have the opportunity to fabricate an immersive experience to surround consumers with various sensory attractions. For example, the Illuminum London perfume store was re-designed by Italian architect, Antonio Cardillo, with the idea to appeal to sight, smell and texture. Cardillo coated the store walls in volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius, which worked to evoke the senses and give shoppers a fully immersive experience.
To excel in experiential retail, there are four main characteristics your retail company needs to do:
- Be consumer-centric.
- Know how to win instead of simply competing.
- Be technologically nimble and decisive.
- Be culturally ready to accept change.
This mode of thinking is driven by leadership within the company, specifically the CEO. Developers, property owners and retailers are responsible for rethinking online and in-store strategies used to create new experiences for customers. The object is to attract more community-level engagement along with individual engagement, which can expand the brand’s reach and draw in new shoppers.
Looking to create an immersive retail experience for your customers? Contact The Trade Group to improve your retail space and design a specifically targeted marketing campaign for any industry. Call us at 1.800.343.2000 or visit www.tradegroup.com.