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Daniel Bakst
Daniel Bakst 22 May 2018

Attract Customers To Your Store By Providing An Experiential Value

Attracting consumers to enter your brick-and-mortar store is a foundational pillar for successful customer relationships. A great way to do so is to create experiential events that are not directly tied into selling your products or service. In doing so, you are proving to customers that you are willing to offer a value to them beyond maximizing profit off of each individual. There are many different ways to provide this experiential value, as explained below.

Due to the proliferation of online product availability, consumers now desire more from brands than low price points and geographic proximity. For many major retail brands, the shift towards digital customer engagement has greatly impacted their ability to retain a high number of visitors to their brick-and-mortar locations. Thus, brands must come up with different ways to get people to come into their store, beyond trying to make a new sale.Maximizing the amount of time that a customer will spend inside your brick-and-mortar store, even if that individual winds up eventually purchasing online, can help maintain your organization’s brand identity in the eyes of its customers. 

Beyond staffing a team of highly engaged employees that provide the ideal level of service, one of the most popular ways to keep customers coming to your stores is to provide a lounge or café areas in which the purpose is not to push the customer along the path-to-purchase, and instead is simply meant to provide value to each individual. For example, the book industry has become a mostly digital industry, with most people listening to audiobooks, purchasing e-readers or downloading applications on their tablets or mobile devices. Even one of the major players in the space, Barnes & Nobles, has experienced a 6.3% decrease in retail store sales[1]as a result of this transition. To keep customers coming back, brands like B&N,need to create spaces within their brick-and-mortar locations that provide value beyond being a place to buy a book or CD.B&N has partnered with Starbucksto create cafés within their locations, as well as creating reading spaces and offering free WIFI throughout the store, all with the goal of getting people to visit and stay in the store as along as possible.

Another effective way to establish yourself as a consistent presence in your consumers’ lives is to establish a series of community events, that do not have anything directly to do with selling your product. This turns your store into an attractive destination, without pushing the perception of being completely profit driven.These can take form as live shows, expos or taste-tests, basically anything that establishes your brick-and-mortar store as a destination beyond being a place to purchase from your brand. One successful example is the “Locally Yours Pop-up Market” implemented by the popular women’s apparel brand Anthropologie. This program partnered the brand with local artists and creators, offering up their physical stores as a pop-up showcase for these community members.[2]Even though Anthropologieexperiences short-term losses, these events can help establish your store as a pillar of the local community, helping entrench the customer relationships formed by each individual branch. 

A third approach to providing this experiential value is to offer opportunities for families to bring their children to a family-based event. These can be free concerts, arts and crafts tables or interesting classes, that can occupy a child’s attention. Ultimately, these offers are not meant to directly lead to a sale, and instead are further entrenching your brand as a part of the familial lifestyle of the community you encompass.For example, Bank of Ann Arborhas co-sponsored Sonic Lunch, a free concert series suitable for all ages hosted every summer Thursday for ten years. Another example of this kind of event takes place at Apple stores across the country, as they offer free, daily classes for children to help them learn how to utilize their technology. This approach is not perceived as “salesy,” because the brand will loan out devices to students to work with during the class.[3]

Retail is a drastically changed and ever-evolving industry, and consumers now have more purchasing power than ever before. Appeal to these individuals by creating a value-adding perception rather than one solely based around turning a profit. While retail stores may never see the same sales levels that brands became accustomed to, they can still serve as a key pillar in establishing lifelong relationships with consumers. Creating experiential events and spaces within these brick-and-mortar locations can help your brand continue to stay relevant in the eyes of consumers. 

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