August 1, 2016
Consumers are attracted to experiential marketing events for multiple reasons. Events give them a way to experience a brand’s products and services with all their senses, have meaningful interaction with brands, have fun, maybe even get free samples or swag.
Experiential marketing can also help retail stores meet multiple goals. Experiential or event marketing is a way for retail stores to educate consumers about new and existing products or services. They can use experiential marketing to bring in new consumers or thank current ones. Here is Factory 360’s top advice for how retail stores can utilize experiential marketing to appeal to consumers and meet their marketing outcomes.
Bring consumers into your retail stores
Experiential marketing events create excitement and provide an out-of-the-ordinary experience for consumers. They’re a perfect way to lure consumers to your retail stores.
You can also do an event nearby that draws consumers’ attention and encourages them to visit your store. The event can feature products you sell, or it can be indirectly related to your core business. If you’re hoping to market children’s products, provide (safe and properly installed) bounce houses or other equipment where parents can bring their kids to play. If you sell sporting equipment, arrange an extreme sports exhibition. If you sell clothing and accessories, put on a celebrity fashion show to raise money for charity. At the event, make sure consumers know your store is nearby if they feel inspired to do some shopping afterward.
Take your retail store to an off-site event with a pop-up store
Pop-up stores are a big trend right now. They’re a perfect example of experiential marketing in action. By setting up a place where consumers can interact with your products with all their senses and have one-on-one interactions with your staff, you provide an experience that’s sure to leave them with a positive impression of your brand.
Keep in mind that pop-up stores can be a great way to promote your brand’s online store. If you’re moving most of your sales online, consumers won’t always have an opportunity to try on shoes or experiment with electronic devices before they buy them. Pop-up stores allow consumers to interact with your products and services, while still reducing the number of permanent stores you have to open.
Pop-up stores can go at existing events, like music festivals or celebrations on college campuses. Or they can be stand-alone events in major gathering places like parks or town squares. They can be very simple, but you’ll get the best pop-up store results if you incorporate some fun or promotional events into your store.
For example, Factory 360 recently developed a pop-up store experience for Boohoo, the UK’s largest online retailer of fashionable clothing. In addition to looking at the company’s products in the store and online via tablet, event attendees partook in several fun activities. They could meet past stars of the popular television show “The Bachelor,” get free nail painting and hair braiding, listen to music at DJ competitions, and enjoy complementary food and beverages.
Do experiential marketing in partnership with brands that sell in your stores
Even if consumers’ hearts don’t race when they hear your retail store’s name, they might get excited about the brands you sell. If you can get some of your vendors to co-sponsor an experiential marketing event with you, you may have a much easier time getting consumers to attend your event.
Ask companies that sell in your stores to donate merchandise you can give away, or send a celebrity model or designer to meet consumers. See if they’ll agree to launch a new product line or make a big announcement at your event (this may help draw earned media as well as consumers). Make sure your partnering vendors publicize all experiential marketing events on their social media channels, emails newsletters and other communication tools.
The other nice thing about an experiential marketing event done in partnership with other brands is that you split the costs between several parties. That helps you see a higher return on your investment.
Offer an exclusive event for your best customers
Experiential marketing events can target a wide group of consumers, or they can target a select few. If your goal for the campaign is to build brand loyalty with existing customers rather than attracting new ones, consider putting on an exclusive event for a select few of them.
The event should make them feel spoiled and appreciated, and creates strong memories and positive associations with your brand. One way to do that is to treat them to an exclusive experience. Allow them to test and give feedback on a new video game system before it hits stores. Or invite a popular singer or comedian to give a performance.
Here’s another idea: Give them an impressive grab bag at the event. There’s an added bonus here if you’re a new retail store trying to gets its name out. If you give your guests branded items, you can turn your best consumers into walking billboards and spokespeople for you.
After the event, consider writing each attendee a personalized thank you note. Don’t type it; have someone write it. It’s so rare than anyone receives a hand-written note anymore that they’re sure to take notice.
Is your retail store interested in more ideas for increasing experiential marketing effectiveness? Whether you’re planning your first event, or preparing to kick off the latest in a long line of campaigns, Factory 360 can help. We’ve been planning large and small experiential marketing activations for over 10 years, so we’ve seen plenty of examples of what works and doesn’t work for retail stores. We’ll bring our litany of best practices and very best ideas to your company. Contact us today to learn more about our services.