There’s power in the experience: The impact of experiential retail

Retailers of brick-and-mortar stores are under more pressure than ever to break through the noise and ensure their Visual Merchandising (VM) is focused on the interactions and relationship between a brand and their customers. They are tasked with “putting on a show” to provide a memorable experience.

It is essential for retailers to bring VM to life in their store with an element of theatre or retail-tainment. Customers hold the power and demand to be entertained in store!

So how can retailers set themselves apart and create excitement whilst bringing their brands to life through memorable experiences?

Having transformed a variety of retail spaces over the last decade and working closely with retailers, the fundamentals have been the same. To put it simply, we need to consider the story we want to tell about the products we want to sell.

Retailers can bring their brand story to life through a combination of functional and emotional merchandising. By combining these elements and stimulating the 5 senses, a product story can be told in a way that is simply not possible online. 

As VM experts, AUSVM Design employs the full gamut of techniques in the emotive display arsenal. From interactive technology and cutting edge signage to setting the scene with theatrical props and sealing the deal with emotive scents. Retailers of all shapes and sizes need to be asking themselves WHY? Why would customers leave the comfort of their home to come to my store? What am I offering my customer that cannot be given online? The answer must be experience. 

What about the shopping centre environment? How can the experience begin before a customer enters a storefront?

How many empty stores and hoarding facades have we seen across our shopping centres over the last year? Too many to count! There is so much potential to explore when looking at how we can maximise the impact of these spaces. We need to think about the experience!

If you have had the chance to visit the Pop-up KitKat Chocolatory in Sydney you would have seen the space offers a unique experience with a chocolate train and dessert bar. Whilst food retailers have always been expected to stimulate the senses and deliver on the experience, there is much to be learnt from this environment by non-food retailers. Whilst it may not be about stimulating taste in your retail environment, the other 4 senses are yours for the taking.

Visual stimulation has been the traditional playground of merchandisers but we must address the other opportunities available to us. Ignore sound, touch and scent at your peril!

The demand for experiential displays has enabled our clients to connect with their customers through a raft of opportunities. From interactive hoarding treatments and well scented beauty bars to custom designed selfie booths. From the visual and aural indulgence of a children’s art display to a tactile barnyard reading nook brought to life in an empty store. By creating engaging spaces and positive experiences, customers are affected on an emotional level. This leaves a lasting impact which in retail terms means they are more likely to return & spend money.

The role and growing importance of VM will continue to become the difference between success and failure for bricks and mortar stores. With the focus on experiential retailing greater than ever, it’s a trend you simply can’t afford to ignore.

From setting the scene with a ‘wow’ window display to being wrapped in scent and sound that evokes an emotional response. Innovative and interactive spaces are what is being demanded of our retail environments. The importance of creating a memorable experience has never been more of a focus. In the race to convert clicks back into the value of bricks and mortar, you must heed the warning that has been screamed over the last twelve months. Deliver an experience or else!

AUSVM Design is a full service visual merchandising display & design agency with over a decade of experience specialising in retail environments. We have transformed retail spaces and assisted retailers across the country for Scentre, Vicinity, GPT, Lendlease, CBRE, JLL and Mirvac including global brands such as Ralph Lauren and Tory Burch.

AUSVM Design can work with any brief to enhance your retail space. Let us bring your space to life!