Experiential retail is taking a center stage in the industry and retail brands are trying to inculcate that in their stores. When online stores are working on establishing a good online presence for their consumers, offline stores are offering authentic experiences to the customers rather than transactional ones.

What is experiential retail?

Experiential retail is a new trend in the market wherein offline traditional stores incorporate shareable experiences and create an interactive environment. Here, the brands can directly interact with the consumers and have live marketing engagement. The main focus here is to directly engage with the customers and not on the sales. The brand wants the customer to remember them and have a good time shopping because if the customer is happy it will directly help the brand in the long run. The offline/traditional stores are turning into a phygital experience to engage their consumers. Because if we have to buy and leave the store, we can do the same thing online in the comfort of our home. Hence, in order to remain relevant in a competitive retail scenario, fashion brands are moving towards experiential retail.

The rise of experiential retail

With experiential retail, retailers are trying to create memorable visits for their customers. This technology allows them to connect with the customers and engage with them in a more immersive manner. It also helps retailers to influence the purchase behavior of a customer. Using this, the customers can share their feedback with the brand directly.

Technology has changed our shopping experience forever. If you need something you can just use your smartphone and you will get the product delivered to your place the very next day.  It has become vital for brands to look different from their competitors. Through immersive engagement, you can achieve that. It will increase your brand loyalty and eventually help you in being different in the market.

Why go experiential

The last decade has brought immense changes in the overall retail environment, which has led to both online and offline stores integrating the two experiences for a better and much evolved retail experience. We all have observed the buzz around AR and VR and brands have provided options for 3D trials on the online platform itself.

An emotional connection always incentivises the customers to come back and share their stories with their friends. Word-of-mouth publicity tends to be especially persuasive. It allows the customers to know more about the brand. Customers tend to love personalised facilities and it will eventually benefit the brand because they will choose to buy from you, be it online or offline.

You can keep it really simple and just have an innovative way to keep it interactive and engaging. Brands are looking for more opportunities to create innovative experiences for their customers to have great memories for life.

Few ideas to create alluring experiences in the physical stores for the customers are:

- Technology brands and beauty brands can have limited edition sales, pop-up stores as small kiosks in prime locations of malls. This activity gets instant traction and also serves the brand objective of reaching the masses.

- Engaging with the customers is very important. Keep your customers engaged through the help of your knowledgeable staff. Customers tend to be loyal to the staff who help them during their shopping period. Hence, it would be really helpful if you have well-trained staff who can manage the customers who know their needs.

- Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will be there for your rescue. AR and VR will make your experience unique and exciting. These efforts will increase brand recall due to the innovative approach and the wonderful experience.

However, experiential retail is more than fancy technology, it is where you create a personalised shopping experience for your customer. It is definitely a topic you should research more on and inculcate in your strategy.

About the author: Ajay Shivan is the Founder and Director of Nachke.