The Face of the Future: Experiential Marketing

 

experiential marketingA new approach to shopping is really in boom this year, and it’s one that every business, no matter the industry, should be aware of.

It’s all experiential based; the “experience.” And while the charge is led by branded clothing and accessory retailers, it paints a picture of significant change to every company’s interface with customers.

As the department store and the mall die off, corporations are experimenting with branded environments that function as marketing tools as well as retail outlets.

For decades, shopping – in malls, big-box showrooms, and tiny specialty boutiques – has been a cultural pastime. But the way people shop has changed dramatically as consumers become more digitally engrossed.

Interestingly, as noted in a recent article in CityLab, this may not be a good thing: “The current conventional wisdom on retail holds that digital sales cannot reach far enough on their own to build sustainable customer bases, so digital-first brands have migrated toward physical stores, pop-up shops, and other experiential marketing strategies.”

Now, it’s not just about buying a product, it’s about experiencing it. From malls that once engaged customers just by presenting a cornucopia of brands, the experiential environments now engage shoppers in ways designed to promote a brand’s online presence. Now, brick-and-mortar spaces serve as flexible settings or backdrops for retail “experiences” and incorporate advertising, design, events, multisensory input, social media, and more to woo and wow customers.

Clothing and accessory brands such as Warby Parker, Bonobos, and Everlane – known as digital-first retailers – have been out front in designing “experiential spaces” to connect offline with customers.

But others will follow. The experiential approach is resonating with the customer – who, as we know, is always right.