It’s strange how the world is abuzz with ecommerce, yet it only represented 13% of retail sales in 2017 in the United States (Internet Retailer). This shows there is still demand for physical presence in the retail space – shown clearly by brands such as Warby Parker and Rent the Runway, both having debuted as online-only brands only to add physical stores to their business plans later. With all the convenience that ecommerce brings to the consumer, physical retail still holds the ultimate opportunity for immediate gratification and that touch-and-feel opportunity. It can be argued that the brands surviving the “Retail Armageddon” are integrating their physical presence with digital. And those brands doing it best are finding their niche of the expansive customer experience, a draw known as retailtainment.

For retailers to keep physical stores relevant to upcoming generations of buyers – particularly Millennials – brands need to evolve the socially interactive shopping experience where a “trip to the shops” is an event. 

Where is Retailtainment Working?

  • Malls move away from trying to fill space with “usual suspect” brands to curating a destination with the restaurants, stores and events naturally appealing to local customers (Forbes)

  • Macy’s has capitalized on its physical space as a large department store by providing pop-up marketplaces to showcase smaller brands. Not only does this expose customers to a new shopping experience, Macy’s is able to rotate brands on a regular basis, constantly keeping new items up to attract customers looking for the newest trends and styles. (CNBC) Additionally, its recent acquisition of Story and naming Story CEO Rachel Shechtman “brand experience officer” leads to speculation of further customer-driven interactions and appeal. (Investor’s Business Daily)

  • Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas uses weekly live music, movie night and family friendly events to bring shoppers through the door.

  • Nordstrom Local offers a full-scale shopping experience to appeal to a large base of customers. Convenience is key through easy online order pickup as well as exchanges or returns, so customers don’t have to make a trip to the post office. They have huge draws for personalized shopping through their Trunk Club Brand, nail bar for self-care, and juice bar to keep healthy shoppers going for hours.

4 Steps to Enhance Retailtainment

  1. Know your customer – How can you know how to entice your customer if you don’t really know her? Collecting attributable data and building a singular customer view allows you to define your customer segments and personalize experiences for her.

  2. Get stakeholder buy-in – From the top down, stakeholders should be all in for creating customer-centric retail experiences. This makes the process smoother for all associates involved, and fosters a creative environment in which to generate entertaining ideas to keep shoppers coming back again and again.

  3. Get creative – Bounce ideas off many different stakeholders to test for blind spots, but then run with the best of them! Taking too long to implement ideas in a continuously evolving marketplace will put you behind the 8-ball again and again.

  4. Empower your staff: Any experience is going to turn sour with a staff that feels pressured or hogtied. Giving them the freedom to refund when they need to and to delight customers when they can create an all-around environment of inclusiveness and support, making for happy workers who will take care of your shoppers – the ultimate customer experience.

Bringing back the fun in shopping is what retailtainment strives for. Brands that create a streamlined approach and add value to interactions are businesses that will lead the transition into the changing retail future. Get the full Building a Customer-First Retail Future whitepaper now, or email [email protected] for more information.

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