Do Retailers Need Experiential to Survive?

By November 24, 2016General

In recent years, it seems as though retailers have needed to follow the mantra “evolve or die” more carefully than ever before.

After all, the majority of today’s online shopping activity is quickly turning towards the digital world, leaving very little room for physical stores to thrive in a time that’s obsessed with instant, and convenient gratification.

In the wake of an announcement by retail giant “Macy’s”, who will be closing at least 100 of their 700 stores in 2017, many retailers are looking for brand new ways to stay relevant in a constantly changing environment.

Experiential Could be the Answer

Fortunately for struggling retailers, the way forward could be in experiential marketing. According to research, shoppers today spend less time spending in malls, and more time investing in experiences, such as vacations and dinners at restaurants.

As the holiday season continues to approach, this concept of spending doesn’t bode well for most traditional retailers. The only way to keep the crowd’s attention, is to make shopping itself, an experience.

Some innovators in the retail world have already begun offering unique experiences to grab the attention of their audience.

For instance, Lululemon is offering a concierge service at its New York flagship store to help shoppers book their place in exercise classes or find running routes in the city.

The store for yoga apparel is dedicating around a third of its shop to a concept known as “Hub Seventeen”, a community area where shoppers can view films and art, and even take yoga workshops.

In a similar vein, Birchbox is using its physical stores to rent out space for bachelorette, birthday, and class-oriented parties.

What’s more, they’re also encouraging extra in-store shopping with “Build your own box services (exclusive to physical stores), wherein shoppers can add five samples to their box for $10 in the U.S.

Finally, the Rebecca Minkoff “Digital dressing room” helps to cater to shoppers in-store by displaying suggested items on “magic mirrors” as shoppers try on clothing.

If a customer feels unsure about a purchase, they can save their fitting room session to their app and purchase at a later date, either online or in store. By sharing their phone number, customers can also enjoy a drink and browse until they are told the fitting room is ready with a quick and convenient text message.

Providing a Shopping Experience

If you want to stay relevant in a world that’s obsessed with experience and convenience, the best thing that you can do, as a retailer, is to offer something to your customers that they can’t get elsewhere. As the holiday season comes closer, no time could be better to get your new experiential plans up and running.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442, or email us on