With more consumers doing their shopping online it can be more difficult than ever for small businesses to compete for sales in their brick-and-mortar retail stores. If you want to attract shoppers to your small business, do what some of the big retailers are doing and add some interactive experiences into your marketing mix. Plenty of the larger retailers are having success with offering consumers a unique experience that they can’t get through online shopping — or from their competitors.
Retailers have been bringing people into their store using entertainment for many years by such means as grabbing their attention and attraction with costumed characters or simple mall carousels and even an amusement park experience such as the one at the Great Mall of America. But with evolving technology and a greater level of sophistication among consumers, retailers have added attractions that invite customer interaction inside their stores. Some examples of stores who are having success with this include:
They are the self proclaimed “Disney World of outdoor stores … a natural history museum of the area they are in, an aquarium, an art gallery with all the beautiful murals, antiques and conservation education” who also do retail, says Larry Whiteley, Bass Pro Shops spokesman.
These innovators of experiential mall retailing have added many new interactive experiences to their tried-and-true offerings for children to make their own stuffed animals. Now visitors can add personalized sounds and music to their stuffed creations before choosing its accessories and giving it a name to be entered on a personalized birth certificate. Store guests can visit Bearville.com and create unique online characters using the code found on their birth certificate to continue the fun and earn Bear Bills used to purchase more items for their stuffed animal.
American Girl stores have received praise as experiential retail leaders with engaging programs and special events held throughout the year. Their 14 locations offer more than shops filled with historical and popular American Girl dolls and award-winning library of books. They also offer dining on site, deluxe parties, and even a Doll Hair Salon where stylists can give an updated hair style or ear piercing to your American Girl doll. A framed portrait of an American Girl doll and its owner is available and offered as a keepsake of a special day spent together.
Microsoft retail stores offer the latest technology, software and games along with customer service and friendly advice. Microsoft spokesperson, Lief Knutson, describes the environment as one that tears down the barriers of intimidation when it comes to technology. Introducing new products to store visitors is simplified with Microsoft employees on hand to provide assistance to demonstrate product use and overcome any technical issues that arise. The goal is to reassure customers they have made the right purchasing decision and encourage repeat visits.
From showmanship to education and from observation to hands-on experiences, interactive experiences are a great way for small businesses to compete with their peers, larger companies and both online and offline markets. Offering your customers more than a product and a sale can be easier than you think and one that can provide a great return on investment!
About the Author:
Patty Whelan is a seasoned copywriter with significant experience producing original content in all facets of online and offline marketing communications, with specialties in all aspects of Search Engine Optimization copy writing. Her work has covered a broad range of topics for varying industries and has been published in print and electronic media. The focus of her current work concentrates on the electronic payment processing industry and credit card machine for small business.
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