The Retail Landscape.

The myth that Shopper marketing is all shelf barkers and FSDUs is something that I (and the agency I work for) have been trying to bust for quite a while now.

It’s the elegant dance between TV or editorial campaign and getting the beanz in the trolley, or the gin in the basket. It goes beyond perishable goods and touches anything and everything that can be purchased. I wasn’t really aware of Shopper before I joined Multiply, but I and the team have helped a plethora of brands speak to their consumers it, we’ve got a pretty good grasp of trends that will only continue to gather speed, and one trend, in particular, is something I’ve spent a large portion of my career putting my energy behind.

Experiences in retail are essential – beyond mere commerce, there’s a requirement to build memorable customer experience. Reimagining retail has become more prevalent and crucial to attract consumers offline and instore.

TopShop was arguably ahead of the curve 25 years ago, opening the flagship store in London’s Oxford Circus. The store has food and drinks offerings, over 50 partner brands, personal shopping and a choice of hair, nail and brow bars. Add to this Selfridges offering skill-based classes, lectures, and talks, and Sweaty Betty providing in-store yoga classes – the UK has had experiences covered for a number of years.

It’s a tired fact, but Generations Y & Z really do value experiences over things. Therefore, brands must offer more to hook a purchase. We’ve seen swathes of brands offering memorable customer experiences, it’s crucial if the high street is to survive. Consumers want a mix of things; instagrammable content, sharable experiences, ways of personalisation, advice, new skills… The list is endless.

 

I’ve picked a few of my favourites, showcasing how brands are engaging with existing and new customers. While we’re here, engagement through experience doesn’t need to be flashy. As we’ll show below, it’s really not that new and can be super simple (and cheap) to execute…

Dr Martens – BOOT ROOM: An intimate music venue offering access to biggest acts across all genres. Tying the traditional cultural link between Dr Martens to music and modernising.

Nike’s New NYC Flagship Store – House of Innovation 000: A behemoth of a store with everything from personalisation to shop the mannequin functionality. Showcasing how ahead of the game the brand it.

Levi’s Tailor Shop: Embroidery, t-shirt printing, and alterations. Put your spin on a classic. Harking back to the hand-made craftsmanship of the product.

Apple: Genius bar, in-store lectures, and gigs, masterclasses. The tech equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Dispelling consumer concerns around switching from Microsoft to Apple.

Lush: Although the smell isn’t for everyone, the store is arguably very hands-on, oohing and aahing over the fizzing bath bombs, this is fun product testing. On-site spas and workshops provide additional experiences.

La Famiglia Rana: Only open for five weeks, the Rana pop up was a glimpse into the future of food retail. Instagrammable displays, workshops and meal box guidance proved very popular. Simple but effective.

IKEA: A creche, restaurant, furniture to try in real life, food shop, and styling advice. IKEA has long been a master in consumer experience.

Waterstones: Super simple activation from Waterstones, in-store signings and readings, picks of the month with short reviews from Waterstones employees and most stores have an on-site café.

Rapha: The Rapha Clubhouse has a real cult following. An aspirational place to pick up a coffee, watch the Tour de France or join the cycling club. You may not be able to afford the full kit, but by frequenting the clubhouse, you’re still an active consumer.

Starbucks: The Roastery in Milan is a sight to behold. Onsite roastery, cocktail bar, AR experience, a handpicked store featuring everything from clothes to accessories, and events.

 

Are there any brands you’d like to see providing a more engaging experience?

It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.

IMG_6710.jpgIn my personal life, 2019 is the year of getting sh*t done. I’ve signed up for my second half marathon, getting my backside into gear (and trying to shift the pizza weight). I’m going to tend to my much-neglected blog, learn how to use a D-SLR properly, actually use the big ol’ box of craft supplies I schlepped over from the UK, and finally, read all of the books I’ve had lying next to my bed for months.

When I was back in the office after Christmas, I had a look through the agency library for some inspiration. I read a lot of blog posts and industry news sites, but I’m pretty poor at reading industry books. I flicked through Paul Arden’s ‘It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.’ and decided it was a good place to start. I devoured it in one evening. I’ve subsequently gone back to pages to remind myself of the guru-like advice printed on them. Here are some of my favourite parts with my own spin on the advice.

1. Begin thinking and behaving like a winner. It’s easy as a Scot (or British person) to be apologetic about success. Not a culture to generally ‘big ourselves up’ we often shrug off compliments. However, businesses need winners to succeed. I’ve been guilty of thinking about low-level achievement in the past, rather than reaching for the big guns.

2. Do not seek praise. Seek criticism. A contrast to the last point, but as an industry, we generally don’t like being told what’s wrong. Some of the best people in the industry have come from the ranks of the toughest people. In the past, I’ve been guilty of seeking praise versus criticism. However, in my teaching role, we are given constructive criticism and I believe this has improved my skills immensely.

3. Don’t be afraid of silly ideas. Silly ideas provide the perfect antidote to the seriousness of the industry. They can sometimes provide the best solution to the brief too. #Fanny

4. Get out of advertising (adaptable for other industries). Sort of linked to the last point, talk to people not in the industry (you work in) about a brief or project you’re working on for external perspective. Read a book, listen to a podcast or watch a series that’s popular amongst your target audience.

5. Rough layouts. We’re obsessed with the finished product. Something polished and perfect. However, if it’s finished, you can’t provide any input. I’ve taken this advice and applied it to docs, placing what I want to say on each page then go back and polish. The amount of time I’ve spent stuck on one page, rather than focusing on the flow of a presentation, is ridiculous.

So, why is this helpful to 2019 being the year of getting sh*t done, I hear you ask?

  1. No longer worrying about status, concerned that I can’t do it. I can do it. I’m talented, I have experience, energy, and I’m a nice person.
  2. With everything I do in 2019, I’ll be asking for constructive criticism. Both in my personal and professional life.
  3. We’ve all had silly ideas that we’ve shrugged off in the past. Well, no more! Silly ideas will be shared, and we’ll see if there’s scope to turn them into success.
  4. This goes for any industry, not just advertising. I’m applying to both teaching and brand development.
  5. I’ve already vastly cut down the time I spend building presentations (or fretting over projects). The quality hasn’t reduced, only the time spent.

Paul Arden’s book is not new. It was first published over 15 years ago. The man knew what he was talking about and it remains just as relevant now. I encourage you to buy (other good bookshops are available) or borrow a copy and read it.