Do your 'Retail Experiences' result in sales?

Give people a reason to visit your store to gain an experience they won’t find online. Retail experiences do matter, but these must translate into sales.

At the ERT Turning Point! event in October 2018 I was invited to the stage to talk about retail theatre, in-store events and what my thoughts were on the future of experiential retail. Some words tumbled out of my mouth and I wasn’t sure that they made an awful lot of sense. So here’s my chance to address that right now and explain exactly what I meant…

A man talking into a microphone at a business conference
Paul Laville of T21 Group takes the stage at ERT's Turning Point! 2018

I view retail theatre as a means of providing an in-store experience that engages all the senses and inspires customers to buy from your business repeatedly. I think of retail events as engaging, above-the-line promotions run semi-regularly, perhaps with support from your suppliers or a strategic partner who stands to benefit as much as you do.

For all of the above, which I define as experiential retail, I view it as a means to achieve sales. Whether that’s sales made on the day or in the future, for me it is all about selling, because if it isn’t then what benefit is there for the business? I half remember making the point that ‘yes we want to provide customers with the things they want, and yes we need to find new ways of engaging and inspiring them, but we can’t afford to be entirely altruistic because if we don’t make money then we don’t have a business’. Retail events cost money to run, so at the very least you want to make that money back. If you’re asking your supplier for support they certainly will.