Understanding this attitude is key to predicting today’s customers’ expectations, and this is what retailtainment is about: giving the customer moments. This trend can be easily traced throughout media with countless articles like this one telling people to invest in experiences rather than things, because the happiness from buying is fleeting, whereas memories are there to stay.
Studies show that 72% of millennials choose experiences over material things as a way of ‘purchasing happiness’. The trend is further fuelled by the abundance of social media and apps that allow people to show off these precious experiences; they also prompt the users to do so, either provoking the thirst for recognition (likes to the cool people with interesting lives), fear of missing out, or competitiveness.
There are countless ways of appealing to new customers and engaging to come and stay in the store. Let’s go over some common forms of retailtainment.
This approach has a number of benefits. Firstly, it slows down the pace which improves the shopping experience and makes it more comfortable for the exhausted, constantly pressured by deadlines and responsibilities city-dwellers. A bookshop where you can read while having a cup of coffee or a lunch looks like a fine way to spend an afternoon, it almost imitates the hygge idea of cuddling up at home with a book and some cocoa with marshmallows. From the book store’s perspective, they get you to stay with them for lunch, or maybe even spend a day at the store. Similarly, beauty and hair salons are offering beverages, clothing and cosmetic stores serve some Prosecco etc. The idea is to turn the trivial act of acquisition of goods into a fun all-day experience, a sort of ‘hanging out’.
Adding the social element is about giving a consumer a reason to come to the store to take selfies and share them with friends, helping them make memories they want to share. This can be done by installing permanent in-store entertainment, for example. Not necessarily something as extravagant as adding a $12 million, 40,000-square-foot Lego Discovery Centre and a 10,000-square-foot miniature golf course made with Legos, but in a similar spirit.
Another way is to hold events on-site. It could be concerts, holiday celebrations, yoga classes, education about your product, anything that counts as an experience for the consumer. The retailer needs to study their audience and identify the types of events they go to – then hold the similarly appealing activities on-site. So, putting it simply, if you sell yoga pants or running shoes holding yoga classes or organising a charitable marathon is a good way to reach out to your customers.
There are a lot of ways of incorporating shopping into leisure through the use of technology. It can be something relatively simple, like RFID keys in Target’s Wonderland, or something very hi-tech like Virtual and Augmented Reality.
You could use AR and/or facial recognition technologies to create an app which helps your customer try your goods on (in a realistic way, not the old-fashioned cut-out static pictures slapped on top of the uploaded user’s picture). Or you could install VR headsets in your flagship stores, because ‘these days you can’t just wait for people to come into your store and try on jackets, you have to provide entertainment’. Marketing your stores through gamification is another strategy.
An example from the Harvard Business Review: “After a major bank introduced a credit card for Millennials that was designed to inspire emotional connection, use among the segment increased by 70% and new account growth rose by 40%”.
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