Harness the power of experiential retail

by Warren Richmond | CEO Situ Live

Dec 16, 2020

Many brands are understandably wary about allocating precious budget to retail. Traditional retailers can be inflexible and expensive to work with, placing your products in uninspiring displays with uninformed staff. Why take the risk if you can just sell direct to consumer?

Retail outlets have the opportunity to be fantastic though, driving a deeper connection between brands and consumers.

Yes, more purchases will inevitably happen online, but physical stores will have a larger role to play in influencing consumer awareness and consideration. In fact, trying out items in-store is 3 times more influential than any other purchase factor, as these tangible interactions boost consumer confidence.

By taking the time to provide an original, energising, and personalised shopping experience, you will undoubtedly be rewarded with enhanced customer loyalty and revenue.

The importance of experiences in a digital world

We know consumers want experiences; this is reflected in changes to their spending habits. We are seeing a societal shift of people consuming less and doing more, hailed as a move from “materialism to experientialism”.

This is a trend that has not been dampened by the pandemic, as non-food retail sales were up 1.5 percent in Europe in July 2020, compared to a year earlier. This was credited to the heightened desire to return to shopping centres and districts following national lockdowns.  

Moreover, the modern consumer is more empowered than ever before, meaning that exceptional customer experience is critical for brand and revenue growth in the long term. Entrepreneur Andrew Thomas estimates it can take up to 40 positive reviews to offset a single negative comment, so brands must rise to the challenge of evolving consumer expectations to ensure their customers feel valued.

Not only is a satisfied customer more likely to make a purchase, but excellent customer experience and thoughtful store design can increase word of mouth promotion and user-generated content considerably. This is critical for businesses as 92 percent of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising.

The rise of experiential marketing

Experiential marketing and brand events have been a growing trend over recent years. Sensory, high-engagement activities which capture the hearts and minds of consumers, influencing purchase intent and, ultimately, building brand love.

Immersive, personalised shopping experiences can see revenues increase by 6%-10%, which is almost three times faster than brands that don’t.

Many brands now see this as a vital component of their advertising strategy, and so they should, as today’s consumers crave life-enriching experiences. People want to be inspired and escape the mundane day-to-day of life, and if they receive a great experience, they will reward brands with their allegiance and buying power. 

Over three-quarters saying experiential marketing is critical to their strategies. However, as a marketing channel, the concept is often confined to limited arenas, such as trade shows and pop-up stores. This may excite brand loyalists, but these types of live experiences are often short-lived and experiential in nature. They can be costly, struggle to effectively leverage word of mouth and receive limited exposure.

A new approach to experiential retail

To drive deeper relationships, the best approach is to embed a product at the point where consumers are directly in the market for support and advice. At Situ Live we truly believe in helping people discover and choose brands that will help them lead a better life every day, encouraging engagement and loyalty that empowers both consumers and brands.

Situ Live is launching a new model for experiential retail, where consumers are immersed in a brand’s products and knowledgeable retail staff provide meaningful context through storytelling. All companies are featured on an extensive digital directory, creating a seamless path-to-purchase for consumers, and enabling brands to sell direct to the consumer and retain full margins.

Done well, multi-brand stores can offer a treasure-trove of discovery, a chance for people to stumble upon brands they had never heard of and reconnect with companies that they had previously dismissed. It simplifies the customer experience by curating a selection of the very best products.

The first Situ Live venue will be launching in early 2021 at Westfield London, if you'd like to experience the future of retail first hand please contact us on: hello@situlive.com and we'll show you how we can best deliver for your brand in one of our six retail theatres: Nutrition Kitchen, Mobile Working, On the Move, Fitness and Wellbeing, Home Entertainment and Connected Home.