Experimental marketing is the future of offline retail

Experimental marketing in retail is also called - retail.
That’s a buzz word and you gotta love it! Retailtainment means using retail marketing as entertainment and generating memorable experience for in-store shoppers through engaging activities, sounds, motion or special settings that create a mood which motivates buying. 

In a time when e-commerce is growing so fast, retailtainment is here to bring brick & mortar back to life and start creating the kind of customer engagement that would drive people back to the stores and put a smile on their faces. 

NRF said that online sales are going to surpass in-store sales by 2024 in the US, while the founder of Farfetch is expecting physical brick and mortar retail to account just for 80% of the sales in 2025 compared to 93% today.

Does that mean that retail brick and mortar stores will become irrelevant?
No, on the contrary. Experts have been talking about omnichannel for a few years, but it is only today (and especially now with the pandemic) that we start to feel its presence. Brick and mortar will not disappear, because real experiences will be cherished more than ever by customers. That’s why retail entertainment is so important, because it is the best way to amplify in-store experiences and become relevant for shoppers.

Types of retailtainment campaigns:
1. Oldies but goldies – instore sampling
Product testing: who doesn’t like free stuff sampling? Especially if it’s a new product that nobody has yet tried. That’s one of the safest retailtainment ideas and not very innovative. But it still works!
2. NFC, Beacons, Bluetooth
Use retail technology that helps you identify customers as soon as they walk inside your store. This will help you create personalised experiences for them and we all know that customization is the key to success in experiential marketing nowadays!
3. Enhanced product display
Incorporate elements that engage the customer’s senses. Either we’re talking about smell, sight, sound or touch, customers that experience your products using a combination of senses are prone to remembering it for longer. See how Jo Malone used a visual display to add a visual representation of the scents or how these grocery products in a supermarket are talking to the customers powered by a robot.
3 great examples of retailtainment campaigns:
House of Vans
A place for young people filled with art, music, BMX, street culture and fashion, where you can go shopping if you want, but just hang out with your friends if you don’t. The House of Vans in London is truly one of the best retailtainment examples, as it includes a cinema, cafe and a live music venue, plus a concrete and a mini ramp for their fans. Knowing your audience is one thing, but knowing how to get them together and motivate them to buy is a whole other story. And Vans is doing experiential marketing right!

Toms VR
It is really important, especially today when COVID-19 has affected brick and mortar retail so much, for customers to understand how your company is giving back to the world. This is what TOMs did perfectly. They used VR technology to immerse their customers into their mission of saving the world one shoe at a time. When customers put the VR headsets on, they were instantly transported to Peru, where locals were smiling and waving and where they could see children enjoying their first pair of shoes. Watch their experiential marketing in the following video:

Farfetch Store of the Future
Farfetch understood that technology is the future of retail and experiences are the future of marketing. So they connected the dots and created a mind-blowing experience for their customers by using augmented reality. In their London retail store, Farfetch provided screens, smart mirror and sign-in stations that let customers search for their shopping history and wishlists and managed to combine the convenience and speed of online shopping with the real feel of boutique shopping. Brilliant #retailtech!
What can retailtainment do in Covid-19 times?

Consumer behaviour has changed over the last few months with people wanting less human interaction and thinking about their safety and health above all
Social distancing is something that’s affecting retail as well, as most of the stores have closed, traffic has lowered significantly due to lockdowns and, even in grocery retail, sampling campaigns and all other in-store promotions using promoters have been cancelled. To cope with it, retail technology is not a nice-to-have anymore, but the only way of moving forward while complying with the new normal.

Retailtainment will probably become a tool in making customers come back to the stores and engage with the brands in a way that’s keeping them safe and making them feel happy.