Let These 3 Retail Experiences Entertain You

The Rec Room is filled with arcade game spaces, bars, dining spots, and even a movie theatre. Unforgettable retail experiences guaranteed!

Changing and continuously upgrading your retail game is of the essence if you want to make it in the industry. That, however, isn’t as simple as it sounds. Retail trends and technology change rapidly but there is one trend that stuck over the last years. Make your customers experience something.

Experiencing is at the heart of the retail business. That’s precisely what some pop-up stores did. Customers are all for it if a company gives them the opportunity to customize their own sneakers. Who doesn’t love it if they can attend yoga workshops in their favorite sportswear shop?

Getting to experience is worth so much more than just going shopping. Retailers have learned from the experiential pop-up shop and are applying these methods to their organizations. So, why not grab your chance too to bring your retail business to the next level? Get inspired by this list of three unique retail experiences and some tips and tricks.

The event you organize must convey a strong feeling

Cineplex, a Canadian entertainment company, announced it would develop an entertainment restaurant chain, called The Rec Room. The first venues, located in the province of Ontario, include spots to dine and bar areas. They also feature entertainment areas where customers can play arcade games, watch a movie or play a game of bowling.

It’s clear Cineplex is focusing all of its attention and efforts on making their customers experience something unique. Sarah Van Large, spokesperson for Cineplex underlines the fact that The Rec Room is something special: “The thing about The Rec that makes it really special, and really resonates with Canadians, is that sense of nostalgia and play. When you go into the space, you’re transported into years gone by”.

The Rec Room is filled with arcade game spaces, bars, dining spots, and even a movie theatre. Unforgettable retail experiences guaranteed!
The Rec Room is filled with arcade game spaces, bars, dining spots and even a movie theatre.

Moreover, as Fang Wang, professor of Marketing at the University of Manitoba, says, this looks like it’s the future of retail. Attention has shifted to the aspect of experiencing, and Wang advises that’s what some struggling malls must do in order to survive. “It’s time for retailers to think outside the big box” she announced to CBC.

Tip: the event you organize must convey a strong feeling. Let your customers experience something positive like Cineplex did: the arcade games make people nostalgic. Or, donate a part of your profit to charity: people are more eager to participate in events if the proceedings go to a good cause, close to their heart.

Lure your customers in with a “sit-and-stay”-technique

Founded in 2004, the Italian supermarket chain Eataly opened the doors of its first venue in Turin, Italy. Later, the retailer opened more stores in cities like New York, Stockholm, Tokyo, São Paulo and Dubai. “Eataly’s goal,” as its founder Oscar Farinetti says, “is to make high-quality Italian foods available to everyone, at sustainable prices and in an informal environment where they can shop, taste and learn”.

So, Eataly isn’t just a megastore where you can shop your favorite Italian delicacies. It’s also the spot where you can experience things yourself. Customers have the opportunity to take a cooking class with friends at one of Eataly’s venues. Besides cooking, the retailer also regularly provides their clients the chance to attend tastings: think wine and Italian classics.

Customers can take cooking classes together with friends and family at Eataly. Unforgettable retail experiences guaranteed!
Customers can take cooking classes together with friends and family. Fun guaranteed!

Eataly focuses its efforts on making their customers experience something remarkable. Have some fun while you’re shopping for food, grab a bite or take a cooking class so you can showcase your Italian cooking skills. Fun guaranteed!

Tip: Lure your customers in with a “sit-and-stay”-technique: do as Barnes & Noble did with their new concept store. The more time your customers spend in your store, the more likely they are to purchase something. So definitely make sure you organize something that makes your customer’s time worthwhile.

Organize events that are closely related to your organizations’ purpose

Barnes & Noble has known fierce competition over the past few years, and especially from e-retailers such as Amazon. So what must one do to lure customers in or to convince them of the added value of visiting your brick-and-mortar store?

As Barnes & Noble’s Vice President of Development, David Deason, said in an article in the StarTribune: “It’s clear the community wants retail-tainment: it’s more conversational and more customer-focused”. Thus, that’s what the company decided to do. Besides offering the possibility to browse for new books or games, customers can also grab a drink. Or, people can discuss their favorite book over dinner.

Barnes & Nobles' new concept store includes a restaurant where customers can discuss their favorite books over dinner or coffee. Unforgettable retail experiences guaranteed!
Barnes & Nobles’ new concept store includes a restaurant where customers can discuss their favorite books over dinner or coffee.

The company has altered its focus to one where the customer stands central. Moreover, store staff walk around and order the stuff you like via the tablets they are carrying. People are no longer just shopping. Customers prefer doing something fun so the shopping trip becomes more enjoyable. And what’s a better way to do so than grabbing a coffee with friends and dive into the latest novels at Barnes & Noble?

Tip: Organize events that are closely related to your organizations’ purpose. If you have a bike shop, set your bikes up outside of your shop and organize a bike tour. By doing so, your customers actually have the possibility to experience and test your products. Whatever you choose, make sure it is at the core of your business.

Retail-tainment will help your retail shop

As these examples have already demonstrated, retail-tainment is the thing that can help you win your customers back. People love to experience new things. So, it is key you focus on three important aspects.

  1. Your event must convey a strong feeling.
  2. Your customers need to feel at home.
  3. You need to make sure your event ties in perfectly with your organisation.

If you follow these tips, retail-tainment will help your retail shop. Have you given retail-tainment some thought yet? And if you have, what did you decide to do for your business? Don’t forget to share this blogpost with your retail colleagues!