The Future of Multi-Location Marketing is Experiential

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Are you prepared for a future where consumers are demanding a more immersive shopping experience?

Achieving the feat of growing your retail business to serve multiple locations is monumental. It means that you’re growing and making the right decisions so that you can continue to see this momentum in your sales and revenue far into the future.

With that growth, it’s important to have an experiential marketing plan so you can leverage the foot traffic and business opportunities that come with operating multiple locations.

The Need for a Physical, Sensory Shopping Experience

The future of retail is being defined by a generation that wants to touch, breathe, and experience an item. While many retailers are pouring their energy and dollars into e-commerce to prepare for the future of retail, they still need a well-branded, memorable experience in-store and online. In the past decade, despite the growth of ecommerce, most retail sales happened in a physical store. As a result, even the most tech-savvy ecommerce site will find it difficult to survive in the market without a physical presence.

Even a decade ago, CEO of Warby Parker, Neil Blumenthal, could attest to the value of a unique shopping experience. The brand started with a plan to obliterate the need for the brick-and-mortar store but quickly realized that customers ultimately wanted a physical store. “When you walk into a store, people are really surprised because it doesn’t look like any place that they have ever been that sells glasses.”

As the holiday season approaches, retailers have several tools, including customer-centric pop up events, mini-capsule launches, and personalized shopping experiences, to increase loyalty in brand enthusiasts and prospects. Did you know that you can customize the shopper experience with music, messaging, and even a personalized scent to make your brand’s experience even more memorable?

The convenience of ecommerce and its failure to obliterate live shopping as predicted reveal that there is still plenty of value in carefully crafting the in-store shopping experience. To successfully support an experience that breeds longevity in customer loyalty, there must be a strategic effort toward making the customer journey consistent across every location you operate. 

What Shoppers Want to Experience

Successful retailers of tomorrow will invest in designing, executing, and measuring the value of customer experiences. You can begin to elevate your own customer experience by addressing three key things that — according to insights provided by market research and intelligence provider Mintel — consumers want from brick-and-mortar visits:

  • Give shoppers the opportunity to learn something new in-store. Whether it’s displays of staff recommendations, interactive screens that provide detailed product information, or videos highlighting how best to pair complementary products, today’s consumer wants to feel smart and well informed before making a purchase.
  • Create an environment that feels like an elevated experience rather than a mere transaction. Consumers need a reason to get off their sofas and into the store, and the reason has to be something that feels more engaging than what they can do online. Incorporate music that’s reflective of your brand as well as your customer’s taste. Introduce scent marketing solutions that trigger emotional connections. Consider special shopping events or food-and-drink events that can only happen in-store. 
  • Empower shoppers with hands-on technology. When in front of a laptop or a mobile phone, consumers are accustomed to having immediate access to more information. Give them that same sense of empowerment in-store by offering such things as wayfinding screens or apps, digital kiosks that let them see options beyond what may be on store shelves, or the ability to buy in-store with touchless checkout and have the product delivered to their home.

When building your plan, take into account the advantages that experiential marketing provides in terms of brand consistency and engagement. By creating consistent in-store experiences with online marketing strategies and connecting the two, customer trust and loyalty will continue to expand. When looking to make a purchase, customers seek an experience that is:

  • Engaging
  • Unique
  • Personalized
  • Surprising
  • Repeatable

Brand consistency in experiential marketing is key whether you have five locations or five hundred locations. There is also value in creating some form of customization or personalization by region or by store to create an authentic emotional connection between your brand and loyal shoppers. 

Jaime Bettencourt is Senior Vice President, North America, Account Management, at Mood Media.