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Experiential boosts customer spend, finds retail report

by Nicola Macdonald

Experience is playing a greater role than ever in consumer behaviour in the world of retail, in a new report which could have significance for exhibition organisers.

Research by RetailEXPO, organised by Reed Exhibitions, has found that store design and in-store experience play an ever more crucial role in delivering retail performance, as the omnichannel model drives integration between physical retail and e-commerce.

Original research of over 2,000 UK consumers in the ‘One Vision: How To Re-Energise Retail In 2019 And Beyond’ Report outlines the challenges faced by retailers. When it comes to physical store estates, 70 per cent of shoppers say they would shop elsewhere – either online or with a competitor – if a retailer didn’t provide an exciting or engaging environment, while 63 per cent of shoppers also said they want the places they shop to be inspiring.

The ease of online shopping has elevated consumer expectations in-store, the report suggests, with 64 per cent of shoppers saying that if they’d taken the effort to travel to a store, then retailer should make the effort to ensure the shopping environment is exciting and engaging.

Experiential activity identified as key in increasing average transaction value (ATV).  More than three-quarters of shoppers say they would spend more in stores that offer experience, inspiration and memorable interactions.

Sixty-eight per cent of consumers said they wanted stores to offer a blended in-store experience, where they could enjoy leisure time as well as browsing and buying products.  In response, One Vision outlines, shopping centres are increasingly becoming stock-light, more focused on customer consultancy and progressively merging aspects of retail with hospitality, leisure and foodservice.

Matt Bradley, event director for RetailEXPO, explained: “It’s clear that for consumers physical retailing is increasingly not just about purchasing products.  Shopping is a leisure activity, an immersive, social experience that creates an emotional response. The ubiquity of ecommerce has changed the motivation for consumers to visit in-store meaning retails must create compelling reasons to visit.  It’s clear the challenge and opportunity for retailers centres around creating combined product and experience offerings that incentivise and reward customers for shopping in-store.

“Retailers need to accept that the rise of ecommerce means there is no longer a need for people to purchase items in-store. They need to shift their focus and consider not only their in-store offering but the ways in which they can create an aspirational in-store environment.”

Image: Getty

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