What is experiential Retailing?
Retailers are increasingly relying on the shopping experience of customers. The more memorable the experience, the higher the probability that shoppers will come back to the retail store again. This is called as experiential retailing. As part of this effort, retailers are looking at enhancing the in-store experience of customers.
Who discovered experiential retailing?
It was none other than the legendary Walt Disney. He called customers guests and labelled his employees as cast members credited with introducing experiential retailing.
Fight against commoditization
Retailers have realized that the key for success in retail is service differentiation. People get tired of the same kind of merchandise, similar discounts on merchandise and overworked store employees who add little value to the in-store experience. Experiential retail intends to energize the interactions between customers and the front line store employees. This motivates the customers to spend more time in the store and this is an indication of the beginning of customer loyalty.
For long retail marketing has been about brand, product, price and promotion. The time is now ripe for taking it to the next level. Experiential marketing helps consumers to cope up with information overload. Interactive retailing forms the basis of experiential retailing and store atmospherics play a vital role in enhancing the shopping experience.
Actions by retailers
Many retailers are not only looking at the interactions of its frontline staff with customers but are also improving the hygiene in the stores by providing better washroom facilities in the stores. The design of the store is planned in such a way that the customer can move around and freely inspect the merchandise without becoming the victim of “brush and butt” syndrome.
The Apple Store deploys technical experts who educate the customers and make shopping a pleasurable experience. Adidas has an interactive touch screen through which shoppers browse the inventory. Build-a-bear shop is one where customers can customize a teddy bear according to their needs. Experiential retailing in brick and mortar stores is becoming all the more significant due to the increasing penetration of retail by e-commerce. So if brick and mortar stores are going to merely adopt a transactional stance, this is definitely not going to help.
What do brand experts have to say about experiential retail?
Brand experts feel that experiential retailing brings the brand alive and tries to establish an emotional connect with the retailers. Fiat launched Fiat Click – car showrooms within UK shopping centres that enabled people to browse a car and then order it online. This obviated the need for having a dealership.
Intensifying competition demands that retail stores become a fun place to shop where one can shop and relax or shop to relax. Customers are given exciting offers. These efforts need the retailers to study consumers and gain unique research insights about what is it that can excite customers and make them stay in the store for a longer time and maximize their purchases. If this means simplifying the shopping process, so be it.