You may not have heard of the new kid on the block, experiential marketing. The advent of the internet has brought with it increased consumer power. Customers are no longer captive vessels on which brands can push continuous messages. Customers are now very much part of the conversation. They expect to be able to communicate with brands more than ever. Whether its on social media or directly in-store, customers want to have a say.
In addition, customer spend is shifting away from shopping and towards experiences. Attractions and eating out are becoming more popular. As a result, retailers are beginning to step up their experiential game by creating more of an atmosphere in store. Much of this is driven by the music, shop fittings and the attitude of staff. Customers want to be part of the brand and they expect to be engaged emotionally. More than anything they need to feel that you love them back.
If your store isn’t creating an atmosphere and an exciting customer experience, you’re seriously missing a trick. This is where a few leaves from the experiential marketers’ book can help you. Read on to discover our experiential marketing tips for retail.
This video gives you a good idea of what experiential marketing sets out to do. Be bold and cause a stir. You can bet with all the phones in all of these people’s pockets, social media went wild at these events. People were compelled from their sofas to check out what was going on.
It’s unrealistic to think that all stores are able to outlay thousands of pounds on basketball stars and trainers. After all, these examples are funded by big brands and not by an individual store’s budget. But the take home message is that experiences reconnect people with the shopping environment. They put their phones down for two seconds and pay attention (and then pick their phones up again to post about it).
In a retail environment this jazzing up and drawing in doesn’t have to be high tech or expensive – it just has to be engaging. So, what can retailers learn from these crazy marketers? Read on for our experiential marketing tips for retail.
1) Customer spend is shifting from shopping to more experiential entertainment such as eating out and visiting the cinema.
2) Online shopping is creeping up with more and more shoppers failing to find what they want on the high-street. Retailers are having their hearts broken with the dreaded “I’ll just look online”.
With these things in mind, retailers are beginning to look towards experiential marketing to bring the buzz back to the high-street. Here are 4 things that can be easily applied to a shop to help create more of an experience.
Some brands like Hollister have been trying to create more of a shop atmosphere for some time now. The visual merchandising is different to the majority of high street retailers as they use lower level lighting and large LED screens with adverts right by the door. In addition, the staff are trained to greet you at the door but in a very friendly, informal way that reflects the brand ethos. There are other brands that are heading this way too.
Retailers like Flying Tiger, a retail chain that opened in Copenhagen in 1995, now has over 600 shops in more than 29 countries. The brand was just one family shop that had a focus on inexpensive fun items that families could enjoy. To keep this feeling alive throughout the expansion, the company encourages its staff to continue the fun with the music it plays and the layout of the shop. Although all the shops follow a lead through format where a clear path is created (if you haven’t visited one, think a bit like a scaled down Ikea), the displays are fun and exiting because staff arrange the products to come to life. They will set the toys whirring and open glasses, wigs and fairy wings to wear around the shop. It’s about having fun and about using the displays and atmosphere to draw customers into the fun too.
Simple changes can make a lot of difference. For example, around Valentine’s day a mannequin holding a rose in a window display may be enough to help attract your customers’ attention. But combine it with something like a small letter board, chalkboard or light box with something like the words “find her perfect present here today” on it, could really help to draw people in. Once they’re inside, then you can capture them with your displays. For an independent retailer, it may not always be possible to have fittings that are completely bespoke, but there are still ways to make a shop’s atmosphere more enchanting.
Consider creating a more colourful environment by using coloured slatwall inserts or by painting one accent wall. If you have a small shop, you might also want to consider ways of making it look bigger. Alternatively, if you are a health food shop for example, your atmosphere may be an incredibly clean feeling one. In this instance, much of the shop should be white with pastel colour hints to bring some colour in. Regardless of the type of shop you have, the best marketing tip for retail is to inject some personality. Personality doesn’t necessarily have to be the extrovert type either. Injecting personality can be done through messages on boards, like the letter boards we spoke about earlier. This is a simple way to engage customers with a funny or quirky message. For example, a sports shop could have motivational messages written around the shop. This will help to bring to the forefront of customers minds why they love their sport. It may even make them feel more inclined to make impulse purchases.
Essentially, your shop fittings and design should match up with the items you sell and the brand’s personality. There is nothing more off-putting in a high-end fashion boutique than poorly merchandised outfits on scratched mannequins. Keep it neat and tidy but add little touches that help your customers feel part of your journey.
Events are an excellent way to create a buzz. They also add to the idea of shopping becoming more of an experience. They encourage customers to come and visit your physical shop. There is also the added benefit of a deadline which really encourages action.
How about running a catwalk on a Saturday? Instead of alien shaped models, your customers take the walk. This is a particularly good idea for stores that have a target market of teenagers and their parents. In the lead up to the event you can create some exciting social content and of course use your boards to promote the event in-store. Draw them in with an experience and let them walk home afterwards feeling like a star with their hands full of shopping bags. They will remember your store and add it to their list of must visits when they go to town.
You could even consider a demonstration talk or two to draw customers in. This appeals to a wider range of age groups. Shoppers love to learn how to do their make up better or how to construct the perfect outfit. If you can’t do it yourself, consider teaming up with an expert. You could perhaps offer them the chance to push their classes or expertise in return for the talks. Collaborating with other professionals is a great way to increase your sphere and theirs.
Make sure to take lots of photos during the event too. If you can, encourage your customers too as well with some cleverly crafted prize draws.
Don ‘t forget it’s not just about sight and sound! Experiential marketers create fully immersive experiences by capturing their targets’ attention with as many senses as possible. Consider using diffusers to make your merchandise smell great. More importantly, don’t forget that the way you use light is incredibly important. Not only should your merchandise be well lit, you should also consider light boxes. Light boxes are an excellent way to attract attention quickly while simultaneously creating an atmosphere. If your budget is tight, then you could consider using some cinematic light boxes to draw customers inside. These boxes have changeable letters so you can display your favourite promotions on them.
If you are looking for maximum effect, then you should use a retail wall mounted light box that has your brand logo or an inspirational image printed onto it. Even better, our wall mounted light boxes are some of the thinnest on the market. They also allow you to choose the image you have printed and where the cable exits to ensure you don’t have any ugly cables ruining the effect.
You may wish to also think about the music you have playing, does it excite your customers? To learn more about exciting your customers and the kind of atmosphere you should create, visit our 5 Tips To Increase Your Retail Sales Blog – with particular attention to number 2.
Omni-channel business strategies have a 91% greater year on year customer retention rate than businesses that don’t. To realise the potential of your efforts, it’s important to integrate your different promotion channels and strategies. Use your retail space to give demonstrations one week. Put a great big chalkboard on the wall and at the end of the talk ask your customers to write their favourite (or their own!) tips. Invite them all to join you at the catwalk next week. Ask them to follow you on your chosen social channel to secure their place and then promote hard.
Ask customers to share your event and invite their friends. You could even offer a like and share style competition where you offer a free item that can be won by liking and sharing your event. If you do this, make sure you tell them that you will be announcing the winner at the event.
Remember, it won’t all happen over night, it will take a few goes to find your audience.
Bring the events back!
With over 26 years of experience and a particular talent for the bespoke, The Display Centre can provide what you need along with free expert advice. Our team of experts listen to your needs, budget and time pressures. They use these to produce several options for you and keep every step of the way simple for you. We hope you enjoyed our experiential marketing tips for retail.
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