New Marketing Trend: Experiential Retail

Although we all tend to think that retail shopping is soon to disappear entirely, our newest consumer generation, Gen Z, begs to differ. Generation Zers, also known as the “Post-Millennial” generation, still love taking trips to the mall or the nearest outlets. They look at retail shopping as an opportunity for an experience. Millennials and Baby Boomers view retail shopping as a hassle or inefficient as compared to online shopping, leading us to believe brick-and-mortar will soon become obsolete.

So how do we take full advantage of this new change in shopping trends Generation Z is bringing? How do we maximize the amount of customers we can get off their laptops, and into our retail stores? The answer is simple. They want an experience, then that’s what we have to give them. Experiential retail.

No matter what type of company you are operating or who your target market is, there is always opportunity to create an experience when customers visit your business. Let’s say you operate a kids hairdressing salon, you can give your customers an experience by offering fun hairstyles after the haircut. Maybe even offer a little something for the parents as well such as sample packets of hair products or refreshments. If you own a restaurant, offer free bread or free small dessert samples to your customers. This will give them something to remember you for, and something to look forward to next time. It’s all about making their in-store experience more enjoyable and more fun. If they wanted simple, easy, and to-the-point, they’d be ordering online.

The key to experiential retail is giving the customer something they cannot get when they order online.

The issue of decreased retail shopping over the years has frustrated many businesses and has even forced some to close their doors and sell solely online. This is nothing to be frustrated about. Consumers are more informed in their decision-making than ever before. They are looking up product ingredients before making a purchase, and searching various sites or stores to find the best deal on a product before deciding where to buy it. This is something to admire and take full advantage of. Why should a customer come to your store if the only difference between that and ordering online is the efficiency?

We need to rethink the way we do retail and the goal we wish to accomplish through our retail. Retail used to simply be about maximizing sales and getting more customers to leave with your products. Now it’s all about the before, during, and after of the sale. How does your company present the product to the consumer? What do you offer the customer while they’re shopping to keep them engaged in the experience? How does your company show their appreciation for the customer as they’re leaving?

I’m not meaning to say you have to give customers something to incentivize them to visit your retail business, this can be done through customer service as well. If you offer them exceptional customer service and professional expertise on the product or service, they will make improved purchasing decisions as opposed to if they purchased alone online, and they will therefore visit your store. Building on and further improving your retail experience for customers will not only increase your retail sales, but your customer loyalty, brand differentiation, and overall customer satisfaction as well.

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