When starting my career in Travel Retail back in 2009 the term ‘Retailtainment’ was a completely alien term to me. Little did I know it had been in the market for the past 10 years and I was already addicted, regularly travelling over an hour to Topshop on Oxford Street, craving the experience delivered there over my local store. Essentially Retailtainment it is the term used to engage our consumer emotionally, sensorially and create an experience that excites and motivates them to purchase. Successfully executed, Retailtainment leaves the consumer with a memory far beyond the product itself and builds loyalty for both the brand and retailer. Today, as we cautiously ease out of lockdown, we look to the future of retail and the role Retailtainment will play.
It was the 2020 retail report from Westfield “Westfield How We Shop: The Next Decade’ that predicted that by the year 2025, more than half of retail space would be dedicated to providing experiences.
During the early part of the pandemic everything was about a safe environment with no sampling in travel retail, but 12 months on and shoppers are definitely ready for change. After a year of virtual shopping, we are craving to smell, touch, taste and experience in a physical environment and add in the social element of experiencing it with others.
Research by m1nd-set suggests that Pre-Covid, more than 90% of shoppers said that touching the products was an important part of the travel shopping experience, while 48% said they tried or tasted products before purchasing.
So how do we move forward in 2021 with the fun and experience of Retailtainment but keep within the consumers comfort zone? Promotional spaces need to cater to a wide variety of post-covid shoppers with engaging, knowledgeable ambassadors who have the emotional intelligence to connect with their consumers. Technology will play an important role with VR & AR exponentially growing in popularity and allows experiences to be shared on social media. Innovative fragrance sampling such a self-sampling pods are likely to be used more frequently and seamless queue timing and management will be integral.
Most importantly we need to be champions of the recovery and stay fluid, innovative and experience-ready in an industry which is still finding its new normality. The pandemic may have changed our behaviours in the short term, however long term, our shopping habits will quickly return and our desire for experience will be accelerated.