In a retail climate that is experiencing an unprecedented shift in the ways people are shopping, it is more important than ever for brick and mortar stores to embrace the features that set them apart and make their products and especially their stores, an inviting place for consumers. The concept of retailtainment is an idea which offers more than just the standard shopping experience and hopefully will breathe new life into the retail world. Some believe that embracing something new, like retailtainment, could be the last hope to restore the magic and the lure of the in-person shopping experience to a consumer landscape that is rapidly drifting away.
Will E-Commerce Replace Retail?
According to a recent article on TimeInc.net, 51% of Americans are now shopping online rather than in actual physical stores. The startling statistic shows that online shopping is rapidly becoming more prevalent than shopping in stores and many are wondering whether this is a signal that brick and mortar stores as we know it, are on a steady path of decline. To further illustrate the changes that have been taking place with American consumers, the findings from a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, show that 79% of Americans have made a purchase online at least once. In a similar study conducted in the year 2000, that figure was only 22% which shows an astonishing change in consumer buying habits and a rather alarming trend that seems to point to an e-commerce takeover.
Hope for The Future of Retail
Enter the concept of retailtainment, a relatively new term that describes a retail experience that is defined by the added element of emotion, sound, activity, or ambience to entice or excite the interest of consumers and which is ultimately designed to lead to a purchase. The basic idea behind the concept itself is not necessarily new: celebrity appearances to promote a new fragrance or even an in-store fashion show with the latest swimwear styles are both examples of a retail experience that is linked to a form of entertainment. What makes the use of retailtainment unique today however are the more sophisticated uses of this concept which often work in subtle and sometimes in more outrageous and clever ways.
Retailtainment At Its Best
A notable example of the use of retailtainment is found at Apple stores across the country. The high-tech wonderland showcases the entire range of Apple products which are all available for hands on testing and discovery. The store is clean and modern with the pulsating vibes of hip, urban beats are heard before you even enter the store and the visually stimulating array of technology that greets you upon your entrance. The Apple Genius Bar is the site for customers to discuss a new product with a knowledgeable “Genius” or to find a solution for technical problems. Apple has recently expanded its retailtainment offerings by launching a series of classes that teach users about its products and features like tips and tricks for the new iPad and even a photography walk class where you can learn about how to take the best photos with your iPhone camera!
Another unique and rather incredible example of retailtainment has launched at the flagship Tommy Hilfiger store in New York. When customers enter the store they are invited to put on virtual reality headsets which give them the feeling that they have front row seats at the latest runway fashion show. The marketing technique is groundbreaking and offers a live digital experience that is exciting and ultra high-tech. The masterminds behind this retailtainment experience is making a case for how the digital age is reshaping the retail world in ways which may in fact benefit the savvy retailer!
Yet another kind of retailtainment takes a entirely opposite approach by “slowing down” the process of shopping rather than increasing and adding to the already loaded sensory experience that typically accompanies a trip to a store. We recently featured an article on ApartmentTherapy.com where a recent visit to some shops in the Netherlands gave shoppers the opportunity to take their time, have a cup of coffee or tea, and really explore the merchandise without pressure. This unusual strategy has an unexpected potential upside: studies have shown that a slower style of shopping has a greater likelihood of generating bigger sales. This then is another way that American retailers can begin to rethink their approach to the consumer retail experience.
Strategies like the above examples are proving to be valuable ways to revive interest in the brick and mortar store and can be powerful tools to achieve customer retention. At Flonomics, we take a dedicated approach to examining the ways in which your retail stores can benefit from the newest and most creative marketing strategies and drive your business to continued success, even amidst a retail climate that is changing rapidly. For more information on how we can best serve your business, please contact us today!