The expectations of your customers are constantly changing. Now, considering the damage COVID-19 has done, safety is the main concern of your shoppers. However, things are starting to get back to normal which means that you need to stay on top of the competition and come up with new ways to surprise and delight your customers.
In this article, we are going to talk about experiential retail, a way in which you can amaze your shoppers. Also, we are going to offer you tips and tricks on how to include it in your in-store marketing.
What is experiential retailing?
Experiential retail, also known as retailtainment, is the application of experiential marketing in the retail sector. Experiential marketing is the use of experiences to increase awareness and engagement. To put it in simple terms, retailers create experiences for their shoppers to engage with them and to make them purchase more.
The difference between experiential marketing and traditional marketing is that experiential marketing focuses more on offering an amazing experience than on selling a product or service. Most of the time, the products are not even the star of the show, they are just there in case customers want to purchase them.
Tips and tricks for experiential retail
69% of U.S. consumers shop more from brands that offer consistent experiences in store and online. The same goes for retailers. If you are able to offer what your customers want and add something extra, then why would they go to the competition? Plus, experiential retail comes with another great benefit: it encourages word-to-mouth marketing.
1. Leverage experiential retail
Use experiential retail as a way to engage with your shoppers, not as a way of selling more. Yes, sales are important, but they will come naturally once a customer connects with your brand.
Also, make it easier for shoppers to share their experience with others. For instance, create special “Instagramable” spaces in your store for your next brand activation. Maybe you have a new product, or you just want to celebrate a seasonal event. Design something that looks good on camera and people will share it with others.
2. Stimulate the senses
An experience needs to appeal to the senses. Create the experience with that in mind and think on all levels. How does it look? How does it feel? Does it have a specific flavor?
Since all of us are different, you will need to think about something that appeals to most people. For example, during the Winter holidays you can have a stand where people can get cookies and hot cocoa for free.
3. Rethink your store
Use spaces in your store to create experiences. For example, you can offer a specific service to customers. If you are selling t-shirts, you can have a booth where they can personalize their shirts. It depends on the type of store that you own, the merchandise you sell, and the way you want your customers to perceive your brand.
How to use experiential retailing for in-store marketing
Now comes the tricky part. While it is easy to say ”Just create a great experience for your customers”, it is not as easy to actually create it. Well-known brands and retailers had the luxury to try out this approach, but not all retailers are the size of Target.
What if we’ve told you that you don’t have to create a pop-up store like Target and that you can include experiential retail as part of your in-store marketing strategy? Yes, you can include smaller, more budget-friendly activities and experiences that will still have a great impact on customer engagement.
1. Start out small
The first mistake everybody makes when it comes to trying out a new thing is that they follow the saying “Go big or go home”. It is better to start out small, try different types of experiences and see which ones are appreciated by your customers.
You can offer an additional service, have a photo booth in your store, create a special design for a Holiday, or play a kind of music. See what happens, collect the feedback and implement it.
2. Use retail technology
Retail technology can help you achieve great things with half the effort you are putting in right now. For example, Tokinomo, the robotic POSM can offer an unexpected surprise to your shoppers. Tokinomo allows products to talk, sing, dance, and move for themselves. Instead of using different promotional tactics, why not let products promote themselves?
3. Plan ahead
It is a bit tricky to implement real-time marketing in store. It is doable, but it is now easy. That is why it is better to prepare ahead of time and create experiences that can be tied to a certain event or holiday.
You don’t have to see experiential retail as the unachievable marketing tactic. Figure out what works for your store and how you can implement it. After that, see how your customers react and adapt accordingly. Try out experiential retail for your in-store marketing strategy and enjoy the results.
Nicoleta Niculescu is a Content Marketing Specialist at Tokinomo, the ultimate brand activation solution for retailers and consumer goods brands. Tokinomo advertising robots bring CPG products to life on the shelf and lift sales by an average of 200%.