"Shoppertainment" is a buzzword used by retailers to describe an overall in-store experience designed to bring customers back into brick-and-mortar stores. National retailers recognize that e-commerce, online shopping and omnichannel shopping are taking over the industry. Therefore, stores use shoppertainment activities as a draw for physical locations.
Shoppertainment involves interaction with customers beyond just perusing the shelves for items. Customers engage with the store thanks to events or activities that only happen in the retail location and nowhere else. One of the most prominent examples of an in-store experience is when Santa Claus makes appearances in retail stores during the winter holiday shopping season in December.
Specialty stores can hold shoppertainment activities based on what they sell. A baked goods store or supermarket can hold cooking demonstrations or classes. Sporting goods stores may have regular clinics on weight training, golf swings, soccer skills or basketball drills. The point is that retailers must make the in-store experience memorable. Good memories, along with a good experience, bring loyal customers back.
Stores don't need to spend a lot of money to get a lot out of shoppertainment. The Pokemon Go craze in the summer of 2016 created a fantastic marketing ploy to get people into stores. Retailers made signs encouraging Pokemon trainers to try to capture their favorite monsters in the store while offering simple rewards or touting quick snacks for hungry Pokemon fans going out for a day of catching 'em all. Use some basic planning steps and strategies to jump-start your in-store experience model.
1. Keep Events Relevant
If you sell books, every in-store experience should include something about books. Author appearances, book talks, book clubs and poetry readings all enhance people's love of reading. Offer discounts during the event to sell more items, as this is the ultimate goal of shoppertainment.
2. Know Your Customers
Who are your most frequent customers? What demographics shop for your items? Cater your events to those people. Hosting free hearing tests for millennials may not make sense if senior citizens commonly shop for the high-tech hearing aids in your store.
3. Invest Money
Determine your budget for each shoppertainment event. This includes supplies, guest fees, merchandising, signage and marketing. Larger events that happen once per month may cost more than regular, weekly happenings. Weigh your costs versus sales that occur during events to set a goal for a return on investment. Remember that new customers may return later to buy more things when there is nothing happening in your location.
4. Generate Excitement
Stores should generate excitement among employees before the event. Train clerks and salespeople on what to expect during a special event. Allow as many employees to participate as possible, and budget for extra staffing during the event. Involving employees in the fun creates loyal, engaged workers who love their jobs.
Shoppertainment might become more prominent among retailers because an in-store experience creates happiness for customers. Happy customers, in turn, remember the event and return later to purchase more items. This is just one of many strategies retailers can use to bring shoppers back into stores rather than buying online.
Photo courtesy of Firelknot at Flickr.com