In-store and experiential marketing has become an integral part of the marketing mix for many retail brands. No other marketing tactic has quite the same, direct impact on consumers at the point of purchase.
In time for Christmas, we’ve pulled out an advent calendar’s worth of stats, facts and figures around retail, in-store and experiential – some naughty, some nice. Here’s the lowdown on how retail and marketing have changed in 2018, and how experiential can meet the challenges of the coming year.
- Christmas 2017 was a rough one for retailers: footfall was down and online competition was up by around 5% apiece, while Black Friday distracted the bargain hunters who’d normally hit the bricks on Boxing Day.
- Retail stores are closing at faster and faster rates. The first half of 2018 saw 4,400 net closures on UK high streets. The surviving businesses are those which invest in the customer experience and make bold decisions.
- Growth in retail is concentrated around either premium or bargain brands: the in-between retailers are turning to “discovery shopping” to arrest their decline. In-store experiences need to provide that feeling of discovery, catching the attention of browsers.
- Consumers are less confident and feel they have less disposable income now than in the last seven years. Marketing needs to offer confirmable value for money to overcome this increased caution on the consumers’ part.
- While the average consumer now does 20-80% of their shopping online, their chief barrier to doing so is not being able to see or feel products before purchasing – so hands-on experiential marketing still has an edge.
- 80% of people who attend a live demo or free sample and say it “drastically helped solidify their purchase decision”.
- Experiential marketing is now an integral part of the marketing mix: 77% of marketers now use experiential as part of their overall promotional strategy.
- 63% of marketers already on board with experiential plan to invest more in live activations – that’s more activations, and more spend on their existing ones.
- A massive 86% of marketers believe that technology has a major positive impact on the success of live activations, including in-store events.
- Augmented reality is growing in popularity, and the process of creating AR apps has been noticeably streamlined. Experiences which create shareable AR content are likely to do well in 2019.
- Integrating technology can increase attendance and lower costs by 20-30%: often, at no additional (monetary) cost. Live streaming events on Facebook is free, but can pull in more attendees and improve the odds of achieving the event’s goals.
- Sensory engagement is the most powerful marketing tool, according to Charles Spence (professor of experiential psychology at Oxford University) – but you have to strike a balance. Tapping into one or two senses and thinking about how they coordinate is better than overloading them all.
- City marketing – experiential campaigns that spread across a whole town, often around a major sporting or other calendar event – is on the rise. This gives retailers an opportunity to align their activities with something bigger – and something else to keep on their calendars.
- Traditional Christmas advertising isn’t the charm it used to be. Debenhams has taken a step back from “vanity ads” and focused on the in-store experience for this Christmas – specifically, the hunt for the perfect gift, the literal shopping experience which ends with Debenhams as the ideal destination. Where the big names lead, industries follow.
- Promotion is power: only 11% of brands which use experiential marketing claim they can get by without using social media to complement it.
- Despite the downturn in user numbers across the biggest social platforms, consumers still prefer Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – so concentrate your promotional efforts there.
- Group experiences can be powerful: 24% of consumers prefer to shop with friends, so try to bring small groups into what you have planned instead of fragmenting them.
- Try putting your ethical credentials front and centre, or offering an experience that comes with an ethical payoff like a charity donation: 40% of shoppers feel more positive about brands that present their ethical standards.
- Transparency – being clear and honest – is also a key brand value. 91% of shoppers are more likely to use and recommend a brand that is genuinely transparent. Build that clarity and honesty into your vocabulary training so your instore experience speaks well of your brand.
- As shoppers turn toward self care, bargains are more important than ever. 44% of UK shoppers will wait for a discount code or voucher before buying, but 47% have self-gifted in the last twelve months, motivated by bargains. Offer discounts: get results.
- In-store isn’t just about generating sales: it’s a powerful way to collate data. Consumers concerned about privacy are still likely to exchange personal information as a way in to exclusive events or experiences.
- Retailers are primed to introduce more experiences to their store environments: the growing popularity of e-commerce has prompted brick and mortar retailers to make their spaces more engaging and exciting.
- 72% of retailers are using mobile marketing to drive in-store sales. We’re not in conflict with e-commerce: we’re working in harmony with it.
- 98% of people who attend a branded event feel more inclined to purchase the brand’s products afterwards. 70% turn into regular customers.
If you want yet more reasons to embrace in-store marketing, check out some of the work we’ve done this year.