The Rise of Experiential Retail
Brick-and-mortar stores of the future will thrive not by selling products but instead by providing authentic customer experiences.
It is not new information nor is it surprising that online shopping continues to dominate the retail marketplace. What is surprising, is how retailers are complementing their online platforms by shifting their brick-and-mortar’s purpose from selling product to rather, connecting with customers in meaningful ways.
Retailers are are scaling back on their brick-and-mortar foot print and utilizing more intimately sized spaces to craft curated shopping experiences that allow customers to interact with their brand and products in unique ways. Retailers are investing in in-store experiences that encourage customer participation through unique events, workshops, demonstrations, social media opportunities, and food & beverage offerings.
Retailers understand that consumers presently have more purchasing options and buyer power than ever before and brand loyalty is often the deciding factor as to whether a brand will thrive in the long the term. Building brand loyalty really requires an immersive experience where retailers can connect with consumers on an ultra personal basis. The selling approach has shifted to be less product driven and more focused on customer engagement as exampled by Warby Parker, Nordstrom Local, and others.
Discovering how customers want to be engaged and how to promote repeat in-store visits is often discovered through interpretation of data. The more data retailers gather on customers the more they customize and personalize the shopping experience. It is arguable that the customer experience has become equally important with product in defining retailers.