Last weekend saw our cracking team of Elves in action at Mermaid Quay in Cardiff, along with Kitty’s Festive Swing Band. Our team kept the shoppers in a totally festive mood, and the jazzy swing versions of all your favourite Christmas songs made for a very memorable day. It was just another example of how, with a bit of planning and thought, a bog-standard shopping day can be turned into something a lot more surprising and fun – credit to the Elves of course!! This time of year is always a great excuse to get dressed up and maintain the festive story for all the kids (and, if truth be known, for half the adults too!) – the success of our Santa’s Post Office in Sheffield is another example of how a carefully thought out pop-up shop can transform and ordinary shopping day into a magical day out. We are not restricted to Christmas, our creativity works all year round, helping brands and retailers engage with their consumers. It is a two way street – not only do people get to know about your brands, but we also gather feedback on what people think, how they react to your advertising or products, and people get much more involved than they would ever do in an online survey. So as part of the overall marketing mix, experiential is worth its weight in gold. Enjoy the rest of the build up to Christmas!
Today has seen the news that over 40,000 jobs are at risk within the #retail sector. This is partly down to changing consumer habits, with people preferring to buy more everyday items online, and partly down to the way retail spaces are taxed – the argument is that the system needs an overhaul to let retailers remain competitive against online operators. the interesting thing was that the commentators were not dismissing retail out of hand, but were, in fact stressing the need to adapt and become more #experiential in their offer. This is what we find with our clients – by actively going out and talking to consumers, and engaging them in some positive way, it gives the brand or shop much more ‘personality’ than they could ever convey through a phone/ tablet/ computer screen. It also helps to create memories, which again structures the way consumers relate to the brand or product. A couple of days ago it was #SmallBusinessSaturday, which helps get a bit more focus on small companies who are trying to showcase something new into the market. The trouble with big retail chains is that they have very specific minimum sale expectations, so products are evaluated and amended until they fit into a formula that works for that retailer. This often means creativity gets cut back, but in the case of small businesses the decision process is much quicker, leading to quirkier, more innovative products. the chances are you would not stumble across such products online, and if you did, you could not touch them, check the quality or look & feel of the product before purchasing. That’s the beauty of retail – you can go out and ‘mooch around’, seeing what takes your fancy, and you can ask questions there and then and get an immediate response from someone who knows what they are taking about. Ultimately, you see something that surprises you, maybe something yo never knew existed or even wanted, but it would make a great present for someone you know. So far from being ‘dead’, retail has the opportunity to entertain customers and prospects, educate them about new products, give them the chance to evaluate the product before purchase, as well as become a place for shoppers to collect products they had bought online. So the retail space needs to be redefined and to an extent re-invented to engage people.