Experiential Marketing in Retail
Many industry insiders have predicted that experiential marketing will become a tactic that marketers in retail cannot avoid in 2018. Getting customers to visit a store in person as opposed to shopping online is difficult. To get customers through the door, brands need to offer them a unique in-person shopping experience that they can’t get online. For this reason, many retailers have turned to experiential marketing. In 2018, retailers will begin to integrate experiential marketing into their shopping experience in order to gain a competitive advantage and keep customers engaged. Customers will no longer be left to search for items or make purchase decisions on their own when they enter a retail store. Instead, retailers will have brand ambassadors to guide customers through the experience of shopping in the store.
Letting Consumers Dictate the Brand’s Path
In the past, brands that have hosted experiential marketing events have led the conversation with consumers, but now, the roles are reversing. Brands are starting to recognize the importance of letting their customers dictate the brand’s path.
One brand that does this brilliantly is Sephora. Customers can open the Sephora app or visit the Sephora website to join groups dedicated to different cosmetic, hair, and skincare topics. In these communities, customers can swap beauty tips, ask each other questions, or share looks they’ve created with Sephora products. Sephora can then listen to what customers are talking about to determine gaps in the products and services they offer. By creating this unique platform, Sephora has given its customers a voice in the direction of their company. Without having to step in and lead the conversation, Sephora can now use customers’ comments to improve their brand and shopping experience.
Letting customers talk to you instead of talking to the customers is an important concept that can be applied to many different marketing tactics, including experiential marketing.
In the early days of experiential marketing, consumers may not have understood what was happening when they attended branded events and interacted face-to-face with brand ambassadors. But now, consumers are starting to understand that brands want to connect with them in new and exciting ways. Because consumers are becoming more open-minded, brands may feel they have more freedom when it comes to planning their experiential marketing events.
For example, in the past, brands may have worried about how an in-store event would disturb customers that did not want to take part in an experiential marketing activation. Now that consumers are more open-minded about these events, brands don’t have to hold back when they plan these engaging activations. Now, they can assume that customers who come in the store will recognize that there is a branded event going on and will appreciate the effort that the brand is making to keep customers engaged.
Open-minded customers may be more willing to interact with brand ambassadors at events as well, whereas in the past they may have brushed off an ambassador’s attempt to engage. This means brands may be able to get more valuable feedback from customers and build deeper relationships with them.
Unique Venues for Experiential Marketing Events
In the past, brands hosted experiential marketing events at traditional venues such as standalone stores, music festivals, and conferences. But, as experiential marketing becomes increasingly popular, brands have to find a way to make their event stand out from a sea of others. One way that they succeed in doing this is by hosting their event in unique venue that guests will certainly remember.