Want to sell more?
Experiential marketing events offer to consumers opportunities to interact, taste, smell or othervise experience the products before buying.

Experiential Marketing: If you build it, they will come.

When stores provide customers with more opportunities to taste, smell, feel, see, and learn, they are rewarded with greater foot traffic, and what is retail marketing if not the means of bringing more consumers to the stores and helping them to buy more products. For example, a grocery store that offers samples of new products allows customers to taste and experience the flavors before making a purchase, which can entice them to buy the product and increase foot traffic. Similarly, a clothing store that displays garments on mannequins or provides dressing rooms for customers to try on clothes enhances the customer's ability to see and feel the quality of the materials, ultimately leading to more foot traffic in the store. 

Retailers would be wise to take note of the desires of Gen Z customers for unique and memorable experiences and work to implement these ideas in order to attract this demographic in-store. In the future, the fundamental purpose of going to a retail space will shift from making purchases to having experiences. So in-person shopping will be the result of an experience tailored specifically to it. It stands to reason that stores that want to see an uptick in foot traffic would do well to outline the essential, location-based interactive experiences that will entice customers to come in and look around, play, be amazed, and be inspired.  

Consumers have a natural desire for new experiences, and using novel technologies in your projects in conjunction with purpose and meaning can be a way to design the kinds of experiences that will draw crowds. Retailers don't necessarily need to use technology to drive the creative process, but they surely need technology to implement, plan, and execute the experiential events.  A meaningful and measurable increase in store traffic is not possible to achieve with just a few events without reducing their impact on annual averages, and it is impossible to host a multiplicity of such experiential marketing events in multiple locations without the use of event management software. It is not even about the economics of labor; even a small army of planners and coordinators will get lost in the endless maze of logistical challenges. Obviously, the ability to analyze and react to what is happening in physical spaces, such as retail, is the most exciting development in technology right now. More unique experiences are the end result of this type of technology. An exciting way to improve the retail experience is by fusing the physical and digital aspects of marketing. 

Meanwhile, the latest Brick Meets Click/Mercatus Grocery Shopping Survey reports that online grocery sales have plateaued. The study found that YoY growth in online grocery shopping was down 7% to $7.2 billion. Online grocery shopping lost 0.3 percentage points in November, making up 13.2 percent of the market.  The survey found that sales decreased regardless of fulfillment method, suggesting a loss of steam in the e-commerce sector. There was a 13% drop in delivery, a 3% drop in pickup, and a 2% drop in ship-to-home compared to July 2022.

There's no doubt that the widespread interest in and participation in social media content is a major factor in the shift toward experiential retail. People are more likely to engage with retail experiences if they have more to do, touch, taste, and explore new products and services while they're there.  Cooking classes or product sampling always engage consumers with gadgets and appliances used by a demonstrator, as well as other complementary products. Participation in entertaining and educational events drives shoppers engagement with the promoted products, complimentary gadgets and appliances, and the venue. The venues that host such experiential events consistently benefit the most in the form of increased sales per square foot, average sales per customer visit, and increased shopper traffic. 

Gen Z customers are less interested in companies telling them how to be and more interested in finding their own voice through those brands. So, stores catering to Generation Z will need to provide additional avenues for self-expression.  For example, a home appliance store might host a cooking class where a professional chef demonstrates how to use their latest range of smart kitchen appliances. During the class, participants get to try out the appliances themselves and sample dishes prepared using the products. This not only enhances their understanding of the features and benefits of the appliances but also creates an enjoyable and educational experience. As a result, the store sees a boost in sales as participants are more likely to purchase the showcased appliances and other related products, while also spreading positive word-of-mouth marketing messages over social media channels. 

Personalized shopping experiences will require the use of retail marketing solutions. From monitoring in-store activity to real-time digital merchandising display updates in response to customer input and interaction.