A social component is critical to maximizing Experiential Retailing

ARTICLE 2 FROM VOLUME 1:
BRICK AND MORTAR RETAILERS CAN GO HEAD TO HEAD WITH AMAZON AND WIN!

Experiential Retail is the next big opportunity for brick and mortar retailers, and the leading players are making huge investments to deliver new, exciting, and immersive experiences in their stores.  The biggest recent news is that both Nordstom and Neiman Marcus have just opened massive experiential stores as their first-ever Manhattan stores, an indicator that they see Experiential Retail as a strategic imperative.  The Neiman Marcus store is over 200,000 square feet on seven levels and is located in the new Hudson Yards shopping complex.  The Nordstrom store is even bigger – at 320,000 square feet on 57th Avenue, it sports its traditional luxury brands, plus new emerging direct-to-consumer online-only brands like Everlane, Allbirds, Reformation, and Kendra Scott.  Others investing heavily in Experiential Retail are Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, RH, and even struggling JC Penney.  These investments cannot be duplicated by Amazon and other online-only retailers, and so it is the next big opportunity to build more powerful and unique relationships between a retailer and its customer base.

A few incredible photos in the slide carousel below show examples of new Experiential Retail from Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, RH, and Louis Vuitton.

Social Retail augments Experiential Retail in some really exciting ways.  It can intimately connect each customer to the retailer and its valued brands, by promoting new fashion seasons, product launches, brand resets, in-store events, and wonderful staff like stylists, beauty consultants, and home design teams.  By adding Social Retail, stores leverage both their physical presence AND their staff in innovative new ways, building customer satisfaction and loyalty.  Finally, it also allows each customer to define her interests in the Social Retail app, and even connect with other customers who share them – creating a new form of community around each store.

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Bryan Calkins