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What is “shoppertainment?”

Earlier this year Riyadh shopping centre in Saudi Arabia pledged to expand with the emphasis on ‘shoppertainment’. Meanwhile, in the US, the store Jordan’s avowed to bring on ‘shoppertainment’ to draw families in.

What do they mean? Well, ‘shoppertainment’ is obviously a neologism that splices shopping and entertainment. But it’s more than that. Part of the phenomenon of ‘experiential retail’, also sometimes known as ‘retailment’, shoppertainment has been defined as: “A retail tactic to engage customers through an entertaining in-store shopping experience.” The goal is to draw shoppers in-store by offering interactive and engaging leisure activities, and by making stores into destinations.

Why is it happening?

Online shopping and e-commerce mean that consumers no longer need to go to physical stores to purchase products. Thus, the basic purpose of the store has transformed. Forward-thinking physical stores have learned to provide experiences, customisation, community sharing and brand differentiation by offering memorable multisensory brand experiences that can’t be gained online.

Any examples?

At the Dubai Mall – the largest shopping centre in the world – shoppertainment is king with, among others, a fairground operated by store Candylicious. In 2013, 75m shoppers crossed its doors. Shoppertainment is not just fixed attractions but events too. At London’s Stratford Centre, an Alice in Wonderland tea party created a 30% increase in-store traffic.

“82% of tech-savvy millennials still prefer physical shopping”


Concept stores

One way of delivering shoppertainment is through the destinational ‘concept store’, offering curated content in well-located flagship stores. Here, customers might not even see themselves as ‘shopping’ at all. For example, in Westfield London, make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury has augmented reality mirrors, offering customers the chance to try different looks, while Starbucks in Amsterdam functions as a ‘coffee lab’ where the public can try new brewing methods.

AR and VR

These are places to try new technology like augmented and virtual reality, and ‘live’ the brand experience. Recent research from Barclays’ New Retail Reality report found that 57% of respondents would be ‘more likely’ to visit a store that had integrated VR and digital technologies, with almost two-thirds wanting to touch products before purchase.

Capturing consumer emotions

The delivery of in-store experiences captures customer engagement and loyalty. As our pioneering study shows, using dynamic scented spaces as part of a multisensory, immersive retail experience realises significant benefits. Once inside, consumers will find customised experiences tailored to their lifestyle choices; zones that respond to their moods (be they high-energy or calming) with scent playing a large part in attracting and retaining customer engagement.

Let me ‘shoppertain’ you ….

Shoppertainment is a great idea – but retailers should get it right and make sure there’s a return on investment.

  • Know your audience: the demographic and local audience should be considered. The sensory connections with customers should be congruent with their expectations.
  • Integrate technology: A study found that 58% of retailers feel they can enhance the in-store experience with digital touch points (Retail Systems Research). Consider installations such as kiosks.
  • Keep it relevant: Sure, make shopping fun but make it relevant to your store and its products. London creative souvenir store, We Built This City invite the artists, designers and producers of the goods it stocks to host creative experiences for its customers.
  • Schedule events properly: Some, like Christmas and Easter, offer obvious annual opportunities. But make sure events like classes and workshops are scheduled properly and at the right times.
  • Train employees: Make sure employees communicate the experiences properly – which may need special training and managerial commitment.
  • Measure results: Measure store traffic to find out how the event or attraction performs. This will justify the budget, and help gather data on crucial metrics such as dwell times and conversion rates

Strategically designed scents can evoke positive emotions, encourage linger time and drive sales. Download our ultimate retail experience whitepaper to find out more.

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