People shop using their senses. They look, touch, listen, feel, and smell before many purchases. You’ve likely been in a warehouse store where food samples are offered. The smell and taste convert that slight interest to a sale. That’s how experiential marketing works. It creates an experience that makes the consumer feel the need to purchase a business or service.

Experiential marketing is helping with the retail resurgence. Unique ideas and interesting concepts are spreading the word of services and products that people never knew they wanted or needed. If your business hasn’t looked into the benefits of experiential marketing, you’re missing a golden opportunity to draw new customers.

2018 Saw Unexpected Growth in the Retail Industry

Several things happened in 2018 that experts were not expecting. The National Retail Federation reported that retail sales increased by 4.9% in July alone. That followed increases of 2.7% and 3.6% at the start of the year. That was amazing considering the NRF expected no more than a 4.4% increase for all of 2018.

The retail world saw two stores open for every one that closed. While people expected online shopping to kill retail, consumers proved that wasn’t about to happen. Convenience stores found an increase of 85% compared to the 3% that closed. Wholesalers and superstores also saw impressive growth with an 83% increase compared to a 17% closing rate.

NRF also reported that the stores that closed, 2/3s of them were with one of 16 retailers who closed all stores. Chain stores may be closing, but unique, independent retailers are thriving.

How Does Experiential Marketing Help?

Experiential marketing strategies cover so much range. A sample table is just one example, but there’s one theme that runs true – experiential marketing is all about delivering an experience. This type of marketing campaign can market the product or service or simply draw attention to it without actually showing off the product.

If you look at Harris Group statistics, around 7 out of 10 millennials prefer spending money on experiences like concerts and travel than tangible items. They crave that social experience, so this can help stores. Using marketing techniques that capture an experience can be carried to another level as the potential buyer or user shares that experience over social media.

Examples of Successful Experiential Marketing Campaigns That Helped Retailers

Thinking outside of the box is often helpful in finding a marketing plan that catches the interest of all ages. Samples are always appreciated, but they’ve become the norm. Hannaford, a New England grocery store, came up with the My Hannaford Rewards app that shoppers can download and use on their mobile phones or access via the store’s website. After creating an account, a shopper’s qualifying purchase rebates a percentage of the item’s price. Once a quarter, that rebate money is deducted from a grocery purchase. They also give coupons for free items or substantial discounts once a month.

The online home furnishings store Wayfair found great success with their experiential marketing campaign using pop-up stores during the holidays. As more and more shoppers flocked to these pop-up stores, Wayfair decided to open their first physical store in Massachusetts. The 3,400 square-foot store is scheduled to open in the latter part of 2019.

Trying on clothing in a busy store isn’t pleasing to everyone. Some stores are now using augmented reality apps and displays in stores to allow customers to try on different clothing options virtually. There’s no need to strip down to try clothes on. Customers take photos of the QR code on the rack and that item is then “dressed” on the person’s image on the camera. American Apparel, Lacoste, and Timberland are some of the companies that are starting to incorporate this technology.

In 2014, Ikea gained the attention of many French shoppers and media outlets. They installed an advertisement for a new store that was unlike any others. This huge board took an apartment layout and turned it into a giant rock climbing wall. Furnishings were placed naturally along the 29 by 32-foot board that included a bedroom, dining room, and living room furniture. The furnishings mixed with grips and steps. People were invited to try to scale the wall while strapped into a safety harness.

Pulling off a successful experiential marketing campaign takes time and expertise. You may need help, many of today’s leading retailers have reached out to our marketing experts to create unforgettable marketing campaigns. Factory 360 specializes in everything from social media integration to mobile tours. Bring your retailer into the limelight with our help. Email info@factory-360.com to learn more about the different strategies.

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