Bricks and mortar is not dead – she just needs to put on a little lipstick

Retail is always evolving. The modern-day customer has new spending and shopping habits. A shifting focus to digital experiences over in-store browsing may be a growing trend but surprisingly, bricks and mortar is still not dead. In fact, the most innovative international retailers are keeping the high street well and truly alive with three words, Positive Customer Experience. This is a lasting customer interaction that goes beyond a beautiful fit-out or magical window display that you’ve just paid a very expensive visual merchandising team to design.

Positive Customer Experience starts with the extraordinary…
But before we delve into the extraordinary, think about customer habits. Sometimes a customers’ only interaction with a brand is through a perfectly filtered Instagram post or worse yet, a third party online retailer. Customers don’t touch, smell, see or feel products until they’re dropped at their doorstep. Meaning a brand can have limited control over the customer journey and touch points, making it hard to build brand loyalty at each stage. Driving customers to your physical store is an impactful way for them to interact with your brand beyond the screen.

What does this mean for the in-store experience?
In-store theatre is essential for the longevity and success of a brand.  When executed correctly it pulls people in, increases awareness and leaves long lasting memories. 

In-store theatre is like the bold red lip of retail, it can change the face of a store. Theatre is inspirational, exciting, bold, innovative, educational, political, artistic and eye-catching. It could be interesting conversations with a key industry influencer, educational workshops teaching people how to use a product, a personalised engraving offer or a jazz band dressed up as the Spice Girls playing a rendition of UB40’s Red Red Wine.

Whatever the concept, connecting with people on a different level can attract three types of valuable customers.

  1. The unique customer doesn’t know your brand – yet. They’ve never visited your store, or they might not even know you exist.  
  2. The retention customer comes often but not often enough to be one of your top spenders. You can appeal to these customers with a genuine surprise and delight moment.
  3. The loyal customer is one of your top spenders, you can reward loyal customers with exclusive in-store theatre. For example, a glass of champagne on arrival.

When you understand your customers, you can adjust your in-store theatre offering to target each type and move individuals into different customer categories with higher spend potential. 

Bring your store to life with in-store theatre
To create effective in-store theatre, you need more than a stand-out idea. Activations that provide return on investment are created by activations specialists, they are built on a foundation of strategy, customer segmentation and a little bit of magic.

Image: @freestocks
In-store theatre is like the bold red lip of retail...
— Charlotte Sehdeva