Although IKEA and Apple are prime examples of the new Town Square concept, your company may not have the luxury to offer a solely experiential location. You can, however, offer a destination of experiential moments.
By addressing your current displays, you can effectively enhance your customer’s encounter. Well-planned displays can help push products — especially those that are seasonal or promotional.
Nothing is worse than an overwhelmingly cluttered and chaotic store. To maximize space while drawing in customers, why not utilize wall space and create a window display? Not only will this increase available floor space, it will also tell a visual story. The goal is to create an emotional connection that encourages shoppers to come inside.
How to: Less is often more. Align the displays with your brand, showcasing products that reflect the items or services available. As stated in part one of this series, one of the four pillars of experiential retail is socialization. Window and wall displays allow for open space, where customers can then comfortably meet and communicate with one another fulfilling the pillar of socialization.
As a twist on the classic supermarket ‘sample station’ — experiential stations can help you take this idea to the next level. Merit — a Detroit-based clothing retailer –executed a great example of unique, personalized stations by offering customers a custom screen print station and the ability to make custom designs directly on the sales floor. They also incorporated a photo booth so shoppers could share their experience through social media.
How to: Use colors, graphic
and props that showcase your overall brand. For example, if you offer cooking classes, shoppers become interactive consumers who bond as a community. While fulfilling the pillars of community building and creating socialization, one can set up a dynamic display that showcases cooking utensils and other appropriate items to further promote sales.
The idea here is to create out-of-the-box ideas that cannot be experienced elsewhere. Create an experience that makes customers think of you, much like Apple did when incorporating live plants to highlight seasonally shifting product. Incorporate creative and out-of-the-box ideas that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Create your own interactive displays, whether a game station or small coffee space within your store that showcases merchandise while offering an experiential setting that pulls shoppers in. Make these spaces focal points to showcase your products in real time and communities will bloom through interactions. Bon Ton created an Instagram campaign with their holiday toy land that engaged shoppers across stores.
How to: Think ‘interactive’ here — developing displays that showcase merchandise while offering an experiential setting. Some practical examples include a coffee station or an interactive game space. Based on these stations, you will inspire your own community of customers through their interactions, shaping the pillars of socialization once again and generating your brand as a unique destination center.
You want the customers walking out of your store to feel like they were offered a true shopping experience. In addition to great products and customer service, having a unique experience is what will ensure shoppers return time and time again. Horrock’s Market, a market and garden center in Michigan, caters to a wide audience by creating an array of displays, each with its own specialized features. Or look to success of Chicago’s Niketown. They used their shoes and put them on moving display, or arranged the entire store with different products and music to tell a story. The patterns on the walls, on the floors, and even the colors all coordinated to the shoes. It is like a Nike museum of art.
How to: Consider your current customers and your target audience. Think about the layout, the merchandise displayed, and the people you’re aiming to impress. You want to balance on the destination and experience pillars. Create interactions with shoppers, between shoppers and workers as well as between the customers. To do so, first, create a layout that is open and employs fun colors and visuals to pique interest. Second, make the customer feel important by focusing staff and branding attention on them, create a friendly feel through welcoming signs and a comfortable store setting that is easy to navigate. Third, display your merchandise in a way that tells a story or creates a mental image where shoppers can see themselves using, and enjoying, the product.
What is it you want your store to say about your company’s culture? Whether your brand identifies as hip and trendy, athletic or something else, think about the feelings and experiences you want your customers to have when they walk in the door.
How to: Use décor that mimics the culture behind your brand. Apple, for instance, eats, sleeps and breathes technology and innovation. So, ask yourself — what story do you want your brand to tell? Use your ideas to develop displays that are in-tune with that mindset or culture.
This year, say goodbye to retail and hello to the retail experience. Creating your own experiential destination is not only possible, it is imperative to your growing success. After all, Steve Jobs said it best, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”