The New High Street: How To Inspire Purchasers with Aspirational Experiences

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Pride festival celebration area at John Lewis Southampton
Pride festival celebration area at John Lewis Southampton

Planning an interior adventure

Sampling foods and drinks and other products that engage the senses like perfumes, candles, textured furnishings and music can be a pleasurable adventure. These are charming activities for somebody wanting some more ‘me time’ or friends and families enjoying a few quality hours out together.

Providing opportunities to educate and inform curious clientele works well too. Talks and interviews, live demonstrations, interactive displays and clever highlighting of stock all encourages loyalty and future purchases. Most people want to hold a camera or a piece of technology in their hands in order to feel the weight and texture of the materials. Test driving cars and climbing on motorbikes is an exciting and memorable experience. Trying on jewellery, shoes, underwear and any other close fitting apparel gives tourists and regulars alike the confidence to instantly part with their earnings or savings.

Almost everyone has missed going to the hairdressers during the enforced closures over the last 12 months. One of the things they have longed for is the stimulating combination of a relaxing and often beautiful interior, their favourite hot drink, magazines, personal contact by a friendly expert and some pampering. It is more than just a haircut, it is a friendship and an experience. This concept can be translated into an unlimited number of different retailers.

One of the reasons Disney parks and the best visitor attractions in London are so permanently popular is that they know how to ‘surprise and delight’. Unexpected shapes, colours, patterns, costumes, characters, sounds and environments greet households and couples as they move through the sections of these fun filled centres.

Clever lighting and the latest technology can be employed to set the scene for the latest range of merchandise. For example an artfully arranged outdoor party scene can be wondrously enticing. Employing an element of fantasy, arranging unusual items together and maintaining a welcoming atmosphere, will get any venture remembered and known for all the right reasons.

Including screens with film, video and your own website installations can strengthen a retail interior and brand image. Care needs to be taken in order to deliver the desired emotional ambience and response in the customer. The overall space can entertain, charm, educate, inspire or amuse shoppers. Capturing a subtle mood with inspiration from a specific historical time and place can be very powerful in setting the scene for displaying any company’s wares.

Less is More when it comes to Experiential Retail

Managing the numbers that are welcomed through the doors at any given time will be relevant even when the current restrictions are lifted. We have all been to a gallery where we couldn’t see the paintings properly because it was so packed full of cultured citizens. Systems are needed in order to keep the quality of the experience positive and the flow through the shopfloor special for each loyal customer. Online booking systems can help to manage expectations at busy times. Even an old fashioned queue can provide an opportunity to inform, converse and captivate a crowd with some mood boosting diversions.

However there may be a few exceptions to this rule. For example a music and musical instruments store might sell tickets to a live concert where a big crowd can just add to the experience as long as the building is capacious enough to accommodate dozens of fans. A sports apparel label might hold live matches and games if it has basketball sized court facilities  like the NikeTown emporium in the West End of London. (11)

The process for paying for purchases needs to be well thought out and appropriate to the type of company and its corporate or informal image. Amazon have just launched their second ‘just walk out’ till point free supermarket by utilising the latest security hardware and smartphone apps. Using the latest technology to receive payments can make even ‘the boring bit at the end’ a pleasure. (12)

Some returns are inevitable and ensuring that the returns process is as easy and painless is imperative and prevents any bad reviews too. Considering all the steps in every customer’s experience carefully will bring smooth buying encounters that everyone will want to repeat.

Less is More when it comes to Experiential Retail

Managing the numbers that are welcomed through the doors at any given time will be relevant even when the current restrictions are lifted. We have all been to a gallery where we couldn’t see the paintings properly because it was so packed full of cultured citizens. Systems are needed in order to keep the quality of the experience positive and the flow through the shopfloor special for each loyal customer. Online booking systems can help to manage expectations at busy times. Even an old fashioned queue can provide an opportunity to inform, converse and captivate a crowd with some mood boosting diversions.

However there may be a few exceptions to this rule. For example a music and musical instruments store might sell tickets to a live concert where a big crowd can just add to the experience as long as the building is capacious enough to accommodate dozens of fans. A sports apparel label might hold live matches and games if it has basketball sized court facilities  like the NikeTown emporium in the West End of London. (11)

The process for paying for purchases needs to be well thought out and appropriate to the type of company and its corporate or informal image. Amazon have just launched their second ‘just walk out’ till point free supermarket by utilising the latest security hardware and smartphone apps. Using the latest technology to receive payments can make even ‘the boring bit at the end’ a pleasure. (12)

Some returns are inevitable and ensuring that the returns process is as easy and painless is imperative and prevents any bad reviews too. Considering all the steps in every customer’s experience carefully will bring smooth buying encounters that everyone will want to repeat.