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Experiential Retail | What, Why & How

  • Experiential Retail | What, Why & How

    Experiential Retail | What, Why & How

    As online shopping becomes increasingly popular and common, the death knell of the physical retail industry might be expected. However, the industry is tenacious and innovative, and alternative models are being considered and implemented across the globe. Experiential retail is one of the new forms of retail that has popped up in recent years. But what is it, and what does it offer businesses and consumers? In this post, Adventa explores the concept of experiential retail, how it works, what it costs, and which retailers are doing it well. Keep reading to understand what experiential retail is.

    What is experiential retail? Experiential retail, also known as “retailtainment”, is a marketing strategy in which physical stores offer their customers experiences that go beyond browsing and buying. Through exclusive in-store events and services, as well as engaging staff and technologies, the customer is given a memorable experience that elevates retail shopping. Experiential retail is a reconstructed take on retail that focuses on the customer's experience. As the ease of online shopping becomes an increasingly important feature of retail, brick-and-mortar stores have been required to adjust the way they do things. Creating engaging, tactile experiences that customers cannot experience online is the cornerstone of experiential retail.

    How does experiential retail work?

    Retail experiences work by offering the customer something out of the ordinary. The way that this is done can differ from store to store, or shopping centre to shopping centre. However, there are a few things to focus on when creating a retail shopping experience. Experiential retailing prioritises customer engagement over sales. Stimulating the senses and defying customer expectations, these experiences are immersive and interactive. As people share so much of their lives on social media, these experiences should also be shareable. Setting up a fantastic photo opportunity in your store is a great way to invite people in, and your business will benefit from the free marketing. An omnichannel approach is another important element of experiential retail. Technology has changed the way we live our lives, and people want to incorporate it into the way they buy. Offering omnichannel options for purchasing allows the customer to buy from wherever they are, making the shopping experience seamless and simple. Statistics show that 73% of consumers use multiple channels to shop, making an omnichannel approach an important strategy for any business. Lastly, experience retail focuses on the consumer's needs and nurtures communities. While technology may make our lives easier, they also make us more isolated. If a store can focus on building a community within its target audience, they are more likely to create return customers and a valuable community.

    Which retailers are doing it well?

    If you’re looking for a little inspiration, here are the five retailers that are making waves with their retail experiences:

    1. Apple
    2. IKEA
    3. Farfetch
    4. Huda Beauty
    5. House of Vans

    What is the cost of experiential retail?

    The cost of experience retail can differ hugely. Large companies with big budgets can typically do more, but small retailers have plenty to offer too. It’s all about offering personalised experiences and immersing your customers in your brand identity. So focus on what your brand has to say and carry that over to the consumer.

    Will experiential retailing save the high street?

    According to research carried out by PwC, approximately 1,200 stores closed on Britain’s top 500 high streets in the first half of 2019, making everyone nervous that the end of brick-and-mortar was close. Then the pandemic hit, and people couldn’t actually visit physical stores for a while. The forced hiatus from in-store shopping and the vigour with which many high street shops are turning to experiential retail is giving many hope for British high streets. With more stores offering customers valuable, fresh, engaging opportunities for real-world interaction, high street could become an even more interesting space for retail, and more.