Making a show of yourself

Industry experts discuss why consumers now expect a truly unique experience in-store, and they share their tips on how retailers can get ahead of the game


Daniel Todaro, Managing Director, Gekko


he most successful of retailers that continue to occupy the high streets and retail parks

of this great shopping nation do so because they have adapted. Adapted to provide the consumer, of all generations, with an experience that resonates with them. An uncertain future in retail has been a dark shadow for several years now, so how did those who failed not get the message and adapt? And let’s face it, we all know that stores that are left bereft of investment do not create a positive experience for consumers. Lush, the retailer that has just abandoned social media, knows what it takes to create the theatre and experience needed to entice the shoppers who will undoubtedly spend in their stores. Its ambience is an extension of the brand voice and its interactive nature immerses the consumer in the brand and its products. Its latest store opened in Liverpool last month – at circa 1,380 square metres, it’s the biggest Lush in the world where ‘every detail has been carefully considered to create a fully immersive brand experience’. Some might say that’s bold and brave in the current climate, but I say it’s a confident move. It’s the employees that create the true experience for Lush, something Debenhams perhaps forgot to acknowledge while trying to keep the wolf from the door.

Experiential at the point of

purchase is nothing without the support of well-trained staff to carry the consumer through the journey and ultimately close the sale. The retailers who get this, win, by retaining motivated staff who feel valued and customers who, having enjoyed the experience, may well return in the near future – or at the very least recommend the retailer.

The experience within your store will either make or break you. But enticing consumers to spend is within the capability and budget of a retailer’s imagination and bravery.

Omnichannel retailing On a recent shopping expedition I sought to buy my son some trainers. The store displays were impactful and easy to navigate, but above all, it was the staff – a young shop assistant who spoke ‘indirectly’ to my son through his actions suggesting colours and designs. Sadly, the trainers my son wanted were not available in his size, but before considering another retailer or even going online, the sales assistant jumped in with “you can order these now online from the store, pay for them here and have them delivered to your home for free”. Without hesitation, I said yes. We walked away all winners, enjoying

the experience, my son getting his trainers and the store not losing out on a sale. That’s omnichannel retailing in its purest form for you. How often has that happened to you? No matter what you sell or who

you believe your target market to be, the experience within your store will either make or break you. Think high- end retail – are you kept waiting to be served? Are you unimpressed by the displays, the staging, the cleanliness or the ambience? I suspect the answer is ‘no’. It is therefore unlikely that these stores succeed purely on their brand equity alone. But enticing consumers to spend in-store is within the capability and budget of a retailer’s

imagination and bravery. For the retailers that succeed,

they do so because they consider the experience for customers. Is it engaging? Is it visually appealing? Do your staff know how to bring this to life as a sales tool and succeed? When failed retailers pretend not

to know why they failed, they are not being honest. They failed to create an experience that appealed to a wide audience and their staff by not engaging with them positively to be the best they can. Ignorance is bliss for directors who don’t shop in their own stores. The experience within any retailer

is borne through your staff and the ability for staff to be brand advocates first and sales assistants second. Make the consumer feel special and they will listen. Keep the consumer informed and they will feel listened to. Keep the consumer engaged and they will shop.

May 2019


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