#ShoptalkEurope – Experiential Retail

Experiential retail is all about turning your stores into a destination, to enhance your customers’ shopping experience, and at Shoptalk Europe it stood out as one of the key trends retailers and tech companies are focusing on.

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This idea has rapidly grown in importance because, as many of the speakers highlighted, having a store network is a serious USP in the fight against online giants like Amazon. Contrary to the recent reports about more and more stores closing, the focus is on making stores somewhere customers genuinely want to spend time.

Another key factor behind this trend is that shoppers, and shopper expectations are also changing. Many talked about how the rise of the millennial shopper is behind the shift to experiential. Wilhelm Oehl at Eight Inc highlighted this by explaining that 78% of millennials would rather pay for an experience than consumer goods.

It is also because the online experience has improved so much in recent years, that there are increasing demands for in-store retail to catch-up. Ronan Harris captured this point when describing what they’re seeing at Google - consumers are more curious, demanding and impatient. They expect shopping to be fast and frictionless.

It’s clear that how we interact online is impacting real world experiences. This is also backed up by science, with David Dubois, associate professor at INSEAD, showing how his experiment proved that the growing reliance on social media is leading people to subconsciously choose experiences over material goods.

So how should this be used to make sure stores are offering the level of experiential retail customers now expect?

Natalie Berg from Planet Retail, talked about how stores should raise their game to offer experiences such as events and learning, and fulfilment to stay relevant

Nick Bonney at ABA Research, demonstrated the benefits of getting this right, by flagging Lush who came out top in their survey of UK in-store experiences. They’ve got experiential right with live product demos and a strong brand voice that has earned them a loyal customer following.

Want to find out more about how you can improve your in-store experience? Then get in touch.