‘The Retail Industry’s shift towards experiences rather than products will speed up over the next few years and approach tipping point in 2025 with consumers expecting to see more innovative in-store performances.’ (Fashion Network).
Experiential retail is immersive and entertaining. It enables brands to create memorable and stimulating shopping experiences that keep shoppers engaged longer, inviting them to experience the brand in-person. From new product launches, to influencer collaborations, make-overs, massages, pop ups, AR and VR to masterclasses. The key difference between retail and experiential retail is how experiential retail creates theatre. Once hooked, consumers are far more likely to shop. Brands use this as part of their marketing and retail strategy – whether they are new to the market and want to create brand awareness, or they have been in-market for years, and use pop-ups as a way to launch a new product, campaign or to drive footfall at key trading periods like Christmas. And there are numerous benefits to be had.
Consumers want to engage with brands, they know, love and trust. Connecting at the right time is more important than ever as we are all bombarded with emails and messages. Understanding when to send emails or when to promote a sale via text – or both – typically depends on the brand and its audience, but understanding where to start can make all the difference.
Gaining consumers insights – great customer service is critical to building long-term relationships and brand loyalty with your consumers. Running pop-ups and events provides companies with the opportunity to gain immediate feedback. Not only will you be able to observe how consumers interact with your products and services, but you can also ask them questions to get insight on existing and future offerings. Answers to these questions help you fine-tune your marketing, retail, pricing and product development strategy.
Building brand awareness – with the rise in social media, there is no doubt that when consumers visit a beautifully decorated store, or a funky pop up, they will photograph it, leading to free marketing, hype and buzz.
Pop Ups – Indian brand Inde Wild hosted a beautiful pop up in Westfield, London in October 2024 to promote their ayurvedic products during Diwali. They enhanced their presence through social media by adding daily stories to their page.
Workshops and Masterclasses – Hosting workshops is an interactive way of building your customer base. Educational events are becoming popular for retailers to spread awareness. Cerave and Rituals have recently run a number of educational, immersive experiences in pop-ups in London.
Digital Involvement –For the launch of Ariana Grande’s new beauty line, R.E.M. Beauty, they ran a series of in-store displays and experiences that incorporate both physical and digital touchpoints, transporting fans and makeup lovers to a world of “vivid dreams and limitless possibilities. Shoppers were welcomed with dynamic digital displays positioned in the windows and entries of Ulta stores.
These experiences don’t have to be a permanent feature of a store to make an impact on your customers. The brands that delight their customers are the brands that drive loyalty and advocacy. Couple this with excellent customer service and you’re on to a winner.
Bespoke Advantage is a London based brand consultancy specialising in working with award-winning brands, retailers, investors, trade bodies and embassies to support you in developing and growing your brand across the marketplace. If you are looking to launch a brand in the industry, or for support in expanding your brand across markets, get in touch, we would love to hear from you – Get in touch.
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