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What is Experiential Retail and Why Is It Important?

4 minute read

Experiential retail is a new way for brick-and-mortar stores to attract customers and ensure they have the best possible experience once they’ve arrived. The UK high street has had to deal with big-name closures, empty spaces and just a general feeling of doom and gloom. 


But now, thanks to experiential retail, it’s fighting back. 


What is Experiential Retail?

Experiential retail can mean different things depending on who you ask. To make things a little clearer, we’ll run through the common indicators you can expect to find in something that’s classed as experiential. 


It’s Personalised

There are two ways that retailers can personalise the shopping experience for their customers. First and most obviously, it's with something like the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign or Spotify Unwrapped


Products that are created to include our names or listening habits are exciting and shareable. They create a buzz and make us feel as though out of millions of consumers, we’re specifically being noticed by a business. 


The second is personalisation through data. Businesses carry out detailed analytics research to identify exactly what we want to buy next. They’re listening to customer demands and are agile enough to respond to shifting market conditions. 


It’s Immersive 

The traditional shopping experience is not an immersive one. It’s something we’re all used to, especially when a lot of stores provide the same kind of layout. It’s easy to leave a store without realising exactly which one you were just in because they’re lacking in identity and anything memorable.  


Experiential retail is the opposite, providing consumers with a unique, appealing experience that grabs their attention. While they’re in the store, the only thing they should be thinking about is your selection of products. 


There are different ways to make your shopping experience more captivating. In fact, some of the leading trends in retail are all focused on immersive experiences that improve engagement with customers. 


It’s Thoughtful

Consumers are more socially conscious than ever before. They want to know where something was sourced and the impact they’re having on the environment and society by making a particular purchase. 


To resonate with shoppers in a positive way, create experiences that are meaningful. Some of the most impactful campaigns run by retailers have come when they’ve partnered with a charity or cause. 


It’s Shareable 

When something amazing is happening, the first thing many people do is to grab their phones to capture the moment. They’ll share their images and thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and raise awareness of what’s happening as a result.


To raise your profile on social media, you need to create an experience that’s shareable. This increases the reach of your business as it’s shared and engaged with online. Dedicated hashtags and video opportunities are just two ways you can boost your awareness and stand out from the crowd. 


What Experiential Retail Can Do For Your Business 

For something to be classed as being experiential retail, it needs to be shareable, immersive and all of the other things we’ve already mentioned. But why is it so important for your business to adopt this methodology and embrace experiential retail?


The more engaging and unique your retail experience, the more likely that customers want to share what’s happening on their social media. Increased social engagement leads to a boost in overall brand awareness and potentially more customers as a result. 


54% of social media users research products on their platform of choice before making a decision. Experiential retail ensures that your products are noticed alongside those from digital retailers. 


In addition to boosting your social media presence, experiential retail improves both customer satisfaction and sales revenue. A staggering 91% of shoppers have positive feelings about a business after an event or experience. Plus, 98% of them feel more inclined to make a purchase


Consumers feel a greater connection with a business once they’ve been immersed in an experience that goes beyond what’s usually expected. With the high street in a state of overall decline, can you afford not to embrace a methodology that leads to such positive results?


Experiential retail often employs some of the latest technologies, like VR and AR, to really make an impression with consumers. This subverts their expectations but also makes it easier for the business to track what’s working and what isn’t. This valuable data can be used to inform future decisions and make effective changes that match consumer demand. 


We’ve created a free guide that features some of these innovations and the impact they’re having on businesses around the world. 


See Experiential Retail in Action

For examples of effective experiential retail from major brands, make sure to get your hands on our free guide today. It considers some of the key challenges facing retailers today and examines the innovative technologies and tools that are being used to turn the tide of brick-and-mortar stores. 


Download your copy now using the link below.