This week Stuart Wood, Founding Partner of Missouri Creative was speaking at the Retail Design Expo on the subject of The Benefits of Experiential Retail. It was a lively debate hosted by Kantar TNS with other panelists from the worlds of shopper marketing and digital installations.
Here are 7 key take-outs for successful experiential retail:
- Understand the objectives
Obvious stuff but vital to understanding how to design, implement and measure the results. Creating awareness, building consideration, triggering purchase, developing advocacy? All valid objectives, but identifying what you want to achieve is fundamental to quantifying its success.
- The best experiences connect the dots
Building the emotional connection between the product or brand, the audience and the context is crucial to creating relevant experiences that educate, entertain or inspire the shopper. Understand the difference between Doing the shopping vs Going shopping.
- Digital not for digital’s sake
When you own a hammer the whole world looks like a nail! Consider carefully the use of technology – just because everyone’s talking about it, it doesn’t always mean it’s the answer. But if you do; make it seamless, make it relevant. And make sure it works.
- The power of the senses
Never underestimate the power of the physical experience. The touch, the smell and the simple beauty of the design can immerse the shopper in your world. Just think of the experiential power of Aesop skincare brand in retail – the tactility and visceral nature of the products and the seductiveness of the space combine to deliver an experience that customers keep coming back to.
- Sweat the asset
Ask any retailer what their two largest costs are and you’ll hear “Rent and Staff”. We believe we will see an increase in multiple use spaces, at different times of day, across the retail landscape; book clubs in coffee shops, yoga classes in gym-wear stores and bread making classes in bakeries. You’ll engage the staff in something they already love and inspire your customers with possibilities.
- Social shopping
Shopping is a social activity and competes with any other leisure activity. Consider what the visual or experiential mnemonic is. Make it shareable and shoppers will share it. Never say “No photos here!”. Again, look at the staff – in Missouri’s recent work with Snow+Rock we made the Instagram feeds of the staff a vital ingredient in the content displayed in-store. They are already actively engaged with your brand and can be the best advocates you have.
- Justifying the cost of experiential
I would say look at the cost of not doing it. Recent reports say that engaged shoppers spend up to 60% more per transaction and ¾ of shoppers are loyal to brands that provide great experiences for their customers, the cost of not creating contextually relevant, culturally connected experiences seems to us like an opportunity missed.