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Why Experiential Could Make Sense for Retailers as US Reopens

Some retailers are looking to experiential concepts to lure customers back in-store.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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With e-comm taking off in the past year, retailers will need to get creative to incentivize customers to return to their stores, Ken Fenyo, president of research and advisory at Coresight Research, told Retail Brew. To that end, some retailers are exploring experiential concepts, where consumers are offered amenities that aren’t directly related to shopping.

House of tricks: Dick’s Sporting Goods opened its biggest store ever last month, dubbed House of Sport. The 100,000-square-foot concept is located in Victor, NY, and a similar one is slated for Knoxville, Tennessee.

  • Features include a rock climbing wall, a putting green and golf bays, a turf field, and an outdoor track.
  • Brands like Yeti, Vans, and Nike have sections in the store, along with Dick’s private labels like Calia and VRST.

Liven it up: Nike is using experiential retail to boost its direct to consumer business and increase membership. Earlier this year the company brought its Nike Live store concept to China, where member checkout rates reached 90%. Nike plans to scale this concept up in fiscal 2022.

The pandemic forced many retailers to reevaluate their cross-channel experiences, and in-store is no different, Katie Thomas, lead at the Kearney Consumer Institute, told Retail Brew.

  • “The use of online during the pandemic only increased the number of options at consumers’ disposal, so increasing brand touch points overall is a valuable tactic for consumer engagement,” Thomas told Retail Brew.

Zoom out: There’s still some hesitancy when it comes to in-store shopping. Almost 40% of shoppers say they plan to wait to start shopping at retail stores at least three months after restrictions are lifted, per a Q1 451 Research survey. — KM

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