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Business Trend Highlight: Experiential Shopping


Modern digital innovations can bridge the gap between the off- and online world, and in the best case, ensure a splendid customer experience that is personally tailored, interactive, and deeply ingrained in a daily activity.

Take shopping and the rise of experiential retail. From storefront and window displays projected in 3D to virtual mirrors that let the shoppers play around with makeup without actually applying it to their faces, technological innovations have been popping up in stores around the country.

Rising Spend to Meet the New Trend

Incorporating technology into retail has made it a breeze for businesses to draw in and retain customers. The more memorable and exciting the experience is, the greater the possibility that the customers won’t be able to resist a second trip to the store.

According to Accenture, in an attempt to attract the millennial generation—with an estimated spend that is predicted to increase to $1.4 trillion by 2020—retailers are leveraging these unique interactions, rather than products, for profits.

A great example can be found in Apple’s open-concept showrooms, where anyone who walks in can touch, pick up, and use the merchandise in an informative and friendly environment. But experiential formats like this are now fast becoming commonplace as stores like Target and Macy’s are building navigation mobile apps and testing alternative merchandise displays for shoppers to use in-store to alert them of sales and find inventory.

Those outside of traditional retail are exploring experiential shopping options too. In England, Fuller’s Brewery came up with the #EmptyPint campaign, a catchy social media campaign that required Twitter users to follow the London Pride page and then post a picture of their empty glass with the hashtag #EmptyPint. The users who did so were awarded a refill of London Pride for free.

How Small Businesses Can Participate

The Fuller’s campaign is a reflection of a grassroots movement in experiential marketing aimed towards using channels such as community networks and social media to reach customers. And it’s one that small and medium-sized businesses can absolutely jump on.

Simply offering customers a cup of coffee with cookies while they shop in store, playing soothing music to help them unwind, having costumed characters ushering patrons in, changing the look of displays to reflect the ongoing season or celebration, or posting contests can greatly help you create a user experience that is hard to forget.

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