Drawing customers into a brick and mortar store has become more challenging with the proliferation of ecommerce. With the ability to purchase anything online, customers would rather spend their money and time on experiences rather than purchasing inside a retail store. To get customers back into the stores, the retail industry is utilizing experiential retail to provide fun, unique experiences they cannot get anywhere else.
Experiential retail attracts customers by using immersive shopping events and customer experiences that tell the story and sell the products. Customers now want an original, connected experience that they could share with others. Retailers must shift their focus to offering a desirable retail event to drive their customers to the physical store.
What makes a successful event?
Let’s define what makes a successful retail event. For an event to be considered successful, it needs to:
Cultivate relationships with the customer
According to the Event Marketing Institute,87% of consumers purchase a brand’s products after having attended an in-store event. These events engender relationships and trust between the retailer and the customer through engagement, knowledge sharing, community, or consultation.
Who’s winning with retail events?
Lululemon welcomes customers in-store for yoga and workout classes. Classes are positioned as workout events, creating trust and loyalty, rather than as sales events for their merchandise.
Why are these classes great? Their use of in-store events aligns with customer interests. Lululemon has set the stage to engage and develop relationships with their customers. Store associates can address pain points the customer may have. Is your yoga mat too large for travel? Don’t worry, they can now recommend a mat for your lifestyle use after engaging with you on the workout floor! These events produce constant potential revenue opportunities for each Lululemon representative.
Bark & Co, the company behind BarkBox, put on BarkShop Live, a week-long experiment of a new retail experience where dogs do the shopping themselves. Bark & Co encouraged owners to buy a ticket and schedule a personal shopping appointment for their pup. Once arrived, the dogs were fitted with RFID-enabled vests, which tracked the toys they played with the most. Humans could choose any of their dog’s favorite toys, and Bark & Co delivered them to their doors.
Why was this event great? BarkShop Live brought appealed to their specific market segment: dog owners. They placed their products in front of the dog owners by promoting a fun event for the owners to attend with their pups. Once the owners made a purchase, BarkBox showcased their platform further by delivering the toys directly to their front door. This not only brought the owners into their pop-up store, but also showed them the quality of the toy, developed a customer relationship, and generated revenue.
Looking for a beautiful way to celebrate the coming of spring? Look no further than Macy’s Flower Show. Occurring every year for over 70 years, Macy’s Flower Show features spectacular gardens filled with millions of live flowers, plants, and trees from around the world. During the last week of March to the beginning of April, Macy’s allows customers to come into their stores to view and purchase flower merchandise.
Why is this event great? This event draws customers to their stores by appealing to their interests. Thousands of visitors immersed themselves in the enchanted gardens that took root in the stores which created a beautiful, captivating experience for the customer. Macy’s then used this immersive shopping experience to sell their products.
Total Wine & More
Total Wine & More has transformed the customer experience in liquor stores by having wine, beer, and liquor tastings in their store. Customers can visit the retailers’ website to register for sessions like “Wine and Chocolate: A Spectacular Pairing.” Once the customer arrives at the store for the event, they learn more about the products and foster a relationship with their sales representative.
Why are these events great? They utilize online platforms and in-store events to bring the customers back into the store. The customers enjoy learning from an educated employee, and build stronger brand loyalty from the event. By building the brand loyalty from these events, customers are more likely to return back to the store for another fantastic experience. And, if they tried something they liked, they most likely will purchase it. This turns a free (or paid) wine tasting into a revenue generating event.
Each company that has employed an event focused on one thing: creating a community rather than selling a product. The modern day retailer needs to cultivate relationships with their customers to continue bringing them into a brick and mortar store. As ecommerce grows, reinventing the customer in-store experience will draw those customers back into the store. To be successful, retailers must offer consumers a desirable retail experience to drive sales.