Article

Kirsten Ward
Kirsten Ward 14 September 2020

What Does a New World of Retail Experiences Mean for Innovative Brands?

Innovative brands need to make direct and deep connections with consumers. They need new opportunities to tell their stories, and spaces where they can showcase what their products can do. Sadly, the current retail environment makes this practically impossible for most brands.

Innovative consumer technology products linger on the shelves, rarely even switched on. Stores are designed to maximise sales per square foot. And brands can’t rely on retail staff to exude passion or knowledge for their products above all others.

The result is frustration, for brands and consumers alike.

So it’s time for a radical new approach. One which focuses on products and services that help consumers lead a better life, and gives innovative brands a chance to tell their unique story in a deeply engaging way.

Buyers are looking for more

Outdated retail commercial models are holding many brands back because they have virtually no control over the in-store experience. Products are lost in busy environments, with potential buyers given little information about what each one can do for them.

In a bid to fulfil the need for awareness and loyalty, we have seen a significant shift to creating direct-to consumer (D2C) stores from brands. But these require huge investment and a long-term commitment, and don’t address growing consumer desire for more meaningful experiences.

Focusing purely online is not the answer, either. According to a report from shopping centre operator Westfield, 56% of consumers are frustrated by the inaccurate recommendations served up by algorithms on ecommerce sites.

Warren Richmond, CEO of Situ Live, a new and disruptive experiential concept (launching in 2021), believes physical experiences and human interaction are still critically important, particularly in the wake of a pandemic that deprived people of both.

Situ Live is working with innovative lifestyle brands on a radical new approach to the retail experience. A new business model that fosters those deeper connections, helping people make informed choices and get the most from new product discoveries.

“Most people shortsightedly assume the future is all online. But it’s not that simple,” says Warren. “Brands need to create emotive experiences that build awareness, and drive consideration and loyalty, delivering genuine value for their customers.”

A meaningful connection with the modern consumer

Consumers themselves are becoming more aware of the need for change. Their habits and preferences have already shaped the thinking that will define a new era of retail experiences, whether they are conscious of it or not.

Research from Momentum Worldwide shows 86% of consumers believe it’s important for brands to lift their mood and make them feel better. And 80% agree that brands need to form an emotional connection with consumers in order to succeed.

Neither are likely to be achieved in-store without fundamental change to the retail model and experience.

There must be nothing more frustrating for brands than launching a great product that you know can improve people’s lives, but not be able to tell that story in an engaging way. Brands need to be able to show people - literally show them - what a product can do and what it can mean for them. That’s when they start to build real relationships with consumers.

Helping people lead a better life

So where do brands begin in their efforts to build that relationship?

Situ Live believes there should be a simple goal: helping people lead a better life. This core ethos has led to the development of our radical new experiential concept based on three central themes:

  1. The World of Exploration
    People want to discover and learn new things. Getting out and exploring the world allows them to make informed choices from new perspectives. 
  2. Health
    As people become more aware of the importance of physical and mental wellbeing, they are searching for products and services that make them fitter, healthier and more resilient. 
  3. Togetherness
    Staying connected is important even when physical interaction isn’t possible or safe. People want to feel a sense of community and reinforce relationships with connected devices. 

Providing experiences that excite and inspire the consumer is the foundation for bringing these concepts together at Situ Live

Whether it’s a theatrical event that showcases the capabilities of an innovative product, or a demonstration of how different products from different brands work together, or the expression of a unique brand story that resonates, this new approach will soon unlock fresh potential for brands.

Facilitated by passionate experts with a love for life and lifestyle technology, Situ Live is about to unleash a whole new world of opportunities that will enable brands to create a ‘wow’ factor in its stores.

Our latest report, Retail: The Quantum Shift, explores how and why innovative brands need to embrace a new model of experiential retail, and what this means for the future of the entire industry.

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