Retail Trends: Five Guidelines For Experiential Retail

November 06, 2018

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A good retail experience is one of the most important ways that mid-market and independent retailers can drive sales and customer engagement — not to mention, compete against big box and online players like Amazon or Walmart.

From pop-up shops, added services, and product demonstrations, to digital touchscreens and virtual reality, retailers are employing a wide variety of experiential tactics to entice shoppers. Each activation is an opportunity to learn more about your customers and close the final sale. In fact, research from the EventTrack 2018 report states that 85% of shoppers are more inclined to make a purchase after experiencing an event.

Experiential retail is easy to get right, but just as easy to get wrong. Retailers who are starting to plan and test activations should consider these tips:

1. Make it personal

Customers are looking to connect with a brand, feel recognized, and be part of a community. The experience you offer should provide one or all of these elements.

2. Be unique

In today’s competitive environment, any retailer who cannot offer something special or different will have difficulty attracting and retaining customers.

3. Go digital

In addition to collecting customer data, digital activations can drive word-of-mouth, and provide enhanced opportunities for customization and engagement.

4. Align it with your business

Ignore the temptation for stunts. To get (and give) the most value, an activation needs to lead back to your products and fit with your brand values and target audience.

5. Measure the results

A special event might be great for shoppers, but it does nothing for your store without actual results. As with any campaign, begin by setting the end goal and mapping out a concrete measurement plan.

BDO’s Retail industry team can help business owners build the right business, technological, and financial framework to support a successful experiential retail strategy. Read our report, Retail Trends in Canada 2018-2019, to learn what steps you should take next to grow your retail business.