Experience-led retail is without doubt the future of the physical store. The days when a trip to the shops would inevitably end up with people returning home laden down with bags of stuff look to be numbered.
The combination of increasing online sales, and the trend for younger consumers to be buyers of social media-friendly experiences rather than more physical goods, is fuelling changes in the retail industry.
Although the experience-rich phenomenon is not necessarily evident when walking down London’s Oxford Street at the festive time of the year the reality is that more square footage in retailers’ stores is now being devoted to experience-led activities.
Around a third (36%) of retailers now host events, classes, and other such experiences, according to recent research from Barclaycard. And another 19% plan to start doing so in the next three years. Their investments in these activities are ramping up significantly – with an increase of 113% planned over the next 24 months.
Such activity is wholly sensible when you consider that the survey found that UK retailers who are investing in in-store events and experiences have seen their annual turnovers increase by 14%. Those contributing most to this revenue uplift are younger shoppers – with the 18-24-year-old group twice as likely to want their favourite shops to offer in-store experiences and 15% of them state that having such activities taking place in-store would encourage them to choose one retailer over another.
Indicative of the in-store experiences we are now seeing in retailers is the Smith & Sinclair experiential retail concession that has been set up in the John Lewis store on Oxford Street for four months. It includes a bar area where shoppers can try the company’s edible alcoholic cocktails alongside a traditional cocktail too. There is also a scent diffusing wall and animated light features that help educate people about the unique jelly cocktail range from Smith & Sinclair.
It is absolutely the case that all retailers with physical stores will be increasingly providing their customers with something very different in their outlets to what they have traditionally offered. High streets will never be the same again, which is arguably not a bad thing at all for today’s and tomorrow’s consumers.
Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider
K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.