With the economy shifting back towards travel & experiences, retailers are switching up their strategies to match consumer interests. Over 60% of consumers say they expect retailers to dedicate more space to experiences than products. In action, this means a stronger focus on pop-up shops, concessions, and other IRL activations. AKA the experiential retail economy is back!
What is experiential retail, exactly?
Our friends at Shopify define it as this, “Experiential retail is the immersive experience that brick-and-mortar retailers give shoppers. Pop-up shops, in-store masterclasses, and hosting community events are all examples of experiential retail.”
For further context, let’s explore some of the biggest names in the experiential retail game👇
Ulta Beauty has taken a big bet on concessions, also known as a “shop within a shop.” Taking advantage of the foot traffic of a big-box retailer, Ulta has placed its shops inside hundreds of Target locations. For the customer, the experience is the same (Ulta rewards and all), but the convenience of hitting two stores takes the experience to the next level for many customers.
Glossier provides a personalized pop-up experience depending on the location and demo of that store. They’re able to harness the spirit of the city they’re inhabiting and communicate that through store design, local brand-to-brand partnerships, and the in-store staff.
Canada Goose takes product testing to the consumer. Customers no longer have to wonder if their winter jacket will be warm enough, they can just step inside a “Cold Room” to find out (a true social activation). Not only is this a fun experience, but a practical and shareable one!
What’s a digital concession? An e-Concession!
Have you ever been to a luxury retailer like Saks Fifth Avenue? Did you notice how it looks as if there are shops within their stores? For example, you might see a Gucci that looks exactly like (and functions like) a stand-alone Gucci, but it just happens to be inside another luxury retailer. That is a concession. e-Concessions are the same thing, just digital!
What are the benefits of e-Concessions?
Brands retain more control over pricing, merchandising, and storytelling compared to the wholesale model.
After all, people love brands because of how the brand presents itself. In some ways, this is a win-win for both parties. The retailer provides the space and the traffic, while the brand provides the storytelling, products, and even the customer service!
How to get started with e-Concessions
Carro enables brands to supply their products to digital retailers. Once a partnership is accepted, the Retailer can add the brand's products to their store in just a few clicks. Not only can the retailer pull all of the product detail page information directly from the brand's site, but also all of the product images. And the best part? The supplying brand still has control over the shipping and fulfillment too!
#2 Personalized Commerce Experience
What’s a personalized commerce experience?
Personalized commerce is exactly that… personal! It takes data to customize the onsite experience to that individual user.
For example, some brands experiment with having multiple versions of their homepage - one will have content geared towards a woman, and the other version will have content geared towards a man. If data shows you fall into one of those categories, your experience will be more tailored to your assigned segment.
What are the benefits of a personalized commerce experience?
Personalized commerce often leads to higher conversion rates and a significant lift in average visit value. Whether it’s the homepage banner image or the information on a checkout page, relevant content and messaging drives more conversions, engagement, and affinity.
How to get started with a personalized commerce experience
Nosto has built a suite of data-fueled personalization and merchandising solutions. One of our favorite tools of theirs is “Content Personalization.” Similar to how a brand like Glossier creates very locationally relevant and demographic-based pop-up shop experiences, brands can now do that with their digital storefronts as well.
Nosto’s powerful machine learning algorithms allow you to dynamically customize content directly tied to each shopper’s preferences so that the entire experience is unique and relevant. The technology enables you to change everything from the photo used on a product page to the brands highlighted in homepage images depending on the customer's behavioral data and preferences.
#3 Social Activations
What are social activations?
Zozimus defines social activations as “the act of transforming your social media followers from voyeurs, into participants, into ultimately, evangelists. Social activation occurs when fans and followers directly participate in the activities your brand lays out, such as contests, coupon redemption, and photo and experience sharing.”
What are the benefits of social activations?
Social activations are typically designed to create buzz, engagement, and word-of-mouth around your brand. And, as many brands know, referred customers can be some of the most valuable and highest lifetime value customers. Ultimately, a social activation creates a beautiful domino effect that leads up to conversion. Check it out below! 👇
How to get started with creating social activations
We learned a lot about distanced social activations throughout the pandemic. Brands were pushed to think outside of the physical spaces that once held IRL events. That being said, the IRL retail experience can teach us a lot about the eCommerce experience (and vice versa).
Using the strategies of experiential retail and applying them digitally can provide your customers with a new and refreshing perception of your brand. Keeping customers engaged is crucial and strategies like e-Concessions, personalized commerce, and social activations are just the trick to do that.
Interested in learning more about the tech to support your new digital experiential retail strategy?