What is experiential retail?

Let’s look at what is a store’s purpose. Technically, it’s about supplying consumers with goods and, most importantly, getting them to purchase those goods. But in recent years, as entrepreneurs and conventional retailers alike pursue what has become the apex of physical retail: experiential retail, the function of a store has been called into question.

In reality, according to KPMG, 78% of young consumers , especially millennials, prefer to spend money on an experience or event and share these social media shopping experiences with each other. With 69 percent claiming that engaging in activities allows them to interact more with friends, culture, and people around the world, there is an emotional driver for this.

The experiential retail market trend goes hand in hand with the priorities of retailers in 2019, not surprisingly. As Forrester has revealed, retailers are looking to invest in revenue-growing capabilities, minimize prices, upgrade goods and functionality, and, of course, enhance the online and in-store consumer experience.

Experiential stores are designed to provide consumers with an out-of-the-box experience. The primary objective is not simply to sell products, but rather to strengthen the reputation of the brand and decrease the distance between the business and its clients. Consequently, the object of this idea is recreational rather than commercial.

Owing to the rapid growth of the online sector, experiential retail has grown from the need to adapt to the changing sector. Although a considerable percentage of shopping nowadays takes place online , especially among millennials and Gen Z, holding one foot on the ground remains favorable for brands. Even if a company’s buying-selling factor operates online, it presents a challenge to maintain good customer relationships when a smartphone or computer screen is the only contact between the company and the customer.

The philosophy of cultivating a closer interaction with consumers, one that not only focuses on the transactional act of shopping, has led to all sorts of storage experiments, with varying degrees of usefulness. Some examples, such as basketball courts and soccer fields in sports stores, are aimed at providing consumers with a better way to test the goods they will choose to purchase, while others are intended to create a community around the brand through activities such as fitness classes, group meditations and scheduled events.

Think of retailing as a special space where current and prospective consumers can familiarize themselves with the specific brand or organization without the need to commit or dig out their wallets immediately to pay for a product or service. Experiential retail provides a safe place for potential consumers to be charmed by what the store offers, and to encourage their concept of it and solidify their loyalty to it for consumers already familiar with the brand.

  1. Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
    Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is a store of experience based on Marvel’s The Avengers, the global box office film franchise. The pop-up shop was formally launched in New York in June 2014 in partnership with a larger community. In the busy Times Square, the store is placed, putting it right in the center of all the action. This concept store was developed in partnership with Brand Licensing Worldwide and Victory Hill Entertainment Group and is a first for Marvel Entertainment. The store is part of a 10, 000 square foot replica exhibit of the Avengers S.H.I.E.L.D. set, using a combination of real life movie props and cutting-edge interactive technology.

This is a prime example of efficient experiential retail implementation. Customers, or ‘civilians’ who have visited the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. are immersed in a fictional universe in an environment like no other. Civilians enter the experience store after completing the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Training, where a selection of limited edition uniforms and other product pieces are on sale to prepare them for returning to the ‘real world’.

2. Galaxy Harajuku
Galaxy Harajuku, the largest Galaxy showcase store to date, located in the famous Harajuku shopping neighborhood in Tokyo, has recently been launched by Samsung, a client of a larger company. The store was opened exactly 500 days before the start of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, showcasing the presence of Galaxy as a global partner of this event (Samsung operates in the Japanese market under the name ‘Galaxy’).

A fun , interactive space driven by experiential retail methods is presented in the shop. The generous technology implementation guarantees that tourists never encounter a dull moment. Customers are greeted on the first floor by a large LED screen where Galaxy introduces the new smart items. On the next floor, a cafe is built with wooden features and a clean cut design, providing a relaxed place for shoppers to kick back and enjoy a cup of coffee. An immersive exhibition of the past of Galaxy and detailing the present relationship of the brand to other global partners is on the third floor. More digital exhibits, video games and product displays occupy the remaining floors of the shop.

Looking at these realistic retail examples, one thing is clear. The combined power of physical and digital assets can be leveraged by brands and retailers. Experiential retail, at the end of the day, always and often addresses customer pain points, whether it is a need for quick sales, emotional interaction, enviable motivation, and unique retail purchases.

Get your shopping bag ready.

Check out my related post: How to tap on China’s ageing market?

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One comment

  1. Another interesting read. “Experiential retail”–I haven’t heard the term until now. It makes intuitive sense, and it’s quite appealing to folks who want to change things up as entrepreneurs. It also appeals to folks like me who try to minimize their stuff and devote more of their funds to buying experiences and not things. Thanks for the post!


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