Consumer expectations of physical stores have changed since pre-pandemic. Most shoppers have become accustomed to online shopping and enjoy the convenience it offers. So, what have brick-and-mortar stores got to offer? Well, brick-and-mortar stores have the advantage of being the only touchpoint where consumers can be truly immersed in the brand. According to Shopify, more than a third of consumers will engage with brands via experiential moments and 81% are even willing to pay more for experiences that improve their overall shopping experience.

Rachel Shechtman, founder of Story, said, “If time is the ultimate luxury and people want a higher return on investment of their time, you need to give them a reason to be in a physical space.” This statement could not be more accurate at this moment. Consumers are expecting go in store to do, not necessarily to buy. If retailers can get shoppers involved with activities that are creative, health and games oriented, they will see footfall increase.

But of course, a business has to sell products. So, here’s the good news: 15% of consumers will buy products right away if they connect with the brand; 55% are more likely to buy in the future; and 44% will share the story and advocate the brand. By focussing on building a relationship with shoppers rather than revenue, you will create a much deeper connection with consumers who will feel a heightened sense of loyalty towards the brand and feel inclined to buy your products.

Furthermore, since 76% of shoppers would spend money on experiences instead of products. There is also space for retailers to increase revenue through services offerings.

According to Westfield’s How We Shop: The Next Decade report, the pent-up demand for experiences is so strong in 2022 that 31% of consumers are willing to exchange their DNA for experiences. Therefore, another added benefit for experiential retailers is that they can collect data which will help improve personalised marketing as well as product suggestions.

78% of department stores in China have already started to add experiential elements in store. Similarly, 40%of western brands are making this their top priority this year.

Let’s have a look at some examples that already exists:

Nike:

Nike is heavily focussed on providing an experiential space, personalising shopping experiences, and collecting data all at the same time. Their flagship stores contain things like basketball courts, treadmills, football areas, customisation shoe bar and more. Shoppers can use the space to play and train while trying out new products. The footage captured by Nike’s cameras can be accessed on the app and shared on social media.

The Nike app cleverly connects omni channels. It can be used to access all the data collected in store and online, book exclusive events, fitness classes, product customisation services, and shop. Data captured in store and the Nike fit scanning technology can even recommend products accurately.

Nike retail stores and app are designed to give shoppers a great experience and ensure purchasing journeys are seamlessly.

Vans:

In Shanghai, Vans has created a store which allows its consumers to be immersed in the brand. The interior design screams young urban culture and the store displays curated content such as independent publications and skate-related art and film. Events, art shows, and concerts are ways in which Vans attracts like-minded individuals and offers them a unique experience.

Similarly, in London’s The House of Vans, is a place where art, music, BMX, street culture and fashion converge. There is also mini skate park where consumers can test out products and have fun.

LN-CC:

Independent boutique LN-CC is more like an art gallery. The interior design transports consumers in to another world and the products – alongside books and music – are displayed as if they are in an art gallery.

Simply designing the space thoughtfully earned the brand international recognition.

Earl of East:

Fragrance boutique Earl of East offers candle making workshops which give consumers a deeper understanding of the brand while doing something creative. Being let in on the tricks will help consumers feel closer to the brand and develop loyalty towards it.

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