Retail Marketing|Thought Leadership|Trends|

The new chapter of retail calls for more than the same-old approach, and experiential offerings are an excellent way to engage the consumer wave.

For the desperate desert wanderer any ol’ oasis will do. The urgency of the situation usually eliminates any tendency to be choosy. Although consumers have persevered through their own barren landscape of sorts during COVID-19, retailers shouldn’t count on their pent-up demand alone to drive sales.

Shoppers, diners and consumers of entertainment are breaking out in a big way and looking for special outlets for their dollars. Retailers should respond with special engagement efforts even to the point of retail reinvention.

“It’s not just about shopping. It’s about food and beverage, family entertainment concepts, theater, art, gathering spaces and activation,” said Whitney Livingston, president and COO of Centennial REC, at France Media’s Entertainment Experience Evolution conference earlier this year. “The most successful centers are going to be the ones that are thinking differently, and those will be the most dominant destinations of the future.”

Staying power is a fine thing in business and even more appreciated after the last two challenging years of social distancing and other operational disruptions. It has added meaning though for retail developers looking to create — or reimagine — properties that keep customers on site for longer. In other words, retail centers that appeal, using the range of senses, to a range of people will have much better engagement and thus greater sales. One-stop destinations offering an array of shopping experiences accomplish that.

And integration of different uses at a retail location does more than simply turn the shopper into a shopper plus diner, etc. Different consumer segments will be engaged from the daytime office worker and one-stop errand-runner to multifamily residents, families, tourists and others.

Last but definitely not least, smart retailers and retail developers know that e-commerce is transforming, not eclipsing, bricks and mortar offerings. With a smart omni-channel strategy, retailers can complement their digital game with physical engagement, strengthened through experiential offerings. Consider that 72 percent of U.S. retail transactions will occur in physical stores, according to Forester, and ICSC found that 62 percent of online orders are fulfilled at physical locations.

“The true value of the retail environment today is… in the less tangible, yet critical, value of emotional and experiential engagement that only physical retail can offer,” George Gottl, co-founder of UXUS wrote in Fast Company. “These softer elements are fundamental to establishing long-term consumer loyalty, brand reputation, differentiation, and, ultimately, sales.”

We at infinitee agree and our team’s great ideas, personal touch and endless possibilities have already been applied to retail reinvention or reimagining.

 “If anything, there’s an even greater thirst for unique retail experiences coming out of the pandemic,” said Michael Rivera, infinitee’s Creartive Director. “Doing it right can mean a powerful connection that serves the brand long-term.”


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