With big box department stores and national retailers struggling to get customers through their doors, the retail industry is in desperate need of a new fad.
Following the so-called “Retail Apocalypse,” American consumers have shifted their buying habits toward experience-spending and casual fashion, mostly shopping online versus in store and from new age retail giants like Amazon. While strong retailers have been able to make the digital switch, others are having to take to the drawing board to create ways to encourage shoppers to come experience the store in-person instead of online. While it may be challenging, those headlining the creative in-store experience are experiencing infallible success; but how are they doing it?
The answer is simple: with Micro-Experiences.
What is a Micro-Experience?
FRCH Nelson Vice President Robyn Novak says that Micro-Experiences are the top retail trend for 2020, citing their ability to engage the consumer deeper than a traditional in-store experience as their key to success. By providing an emotional element to a sale, the experience with the brand becomes much more than a standard transaction.
Novak defines a Micro-Experience as a small-format, in-store activation that engages consumers in a meaningful brand extension that can not be replicated online. With experimentation on the rise, Micro-Experience’s small footprint provides retailers with a trial-and-error opportunity to engage with their consumers without worrying about major financial setbacks. They allow retailers a chance to cater the experience to each persona in the most impactful, efficient way.
What makes a Micro-Experience different from an event? A Micro-Experience must be small scale, physical by nature, authentic & ownable, a brand extension, must augment the core transaction, be executable & scalable, and must be supported by data. They embrace the emotional connection between a brand and consumer by providing experiential bliss – remember how we mentioned consumer shifting from buying material goods to experiences?
Micro-Experiences must also be revenue generators while still being functional and providing a trial-by basis for retailers to really get it right. The perfect combination of digital meets analog, retailers should prioritize hyper-hospitable service to ensure that their traditional retail standards are boding well with the futuristic nature of the experience.
Most importantly, Micro-Experiences must be personalized for the consumer. The deeper the personalization goes, the more meaningful sensorial reaction you can produce for shoppers.
What Can a Micro-Experience Do for My Business?
Micro-Experiences provide consumers with an opportunity to enhance their relationship with retailers. Take Nordstrom Local, for example. An extension of retail giant Nordstrom, Nordstrom Local is a small scale brick and mortar storefront designed to provide fittings, detailing, online order pickup, returns and more on a more intimate, personalized level. This experience makes Nordstrom feel a lot smaller to the consumer and allows for personalized care from store associates. All of their services provide some sort of act of service, further associating Nordstrom Local with efficiency, helpfulness, and maximizing on their already foolproof customer service reputation.
Micro-Experiences also get new customers through the door. When potential customers hear about an exciting new event, product, or experience, they want to be involved in the conversation. We’ve all struggled with FOMO, and nobody wants to be the odd one out of a conversation where everyone is talking about the hottest new spot in town. With everyone snapping pictures and posting to social platforms, potential new customers are sure to come across your Micro-Experience online and want to see it for themselves in person.
Micro-Experience Ideas for Grocers:
Even though the number of shoppers buying their groceries online is rising, around 90% of grocery sales are still done in-store. Because of this, Micro-Experiences have a sure-fire way of positively impacting the in-store shopping experience. Below are three ideas for grocery Micro-Experiences.
Celebrity Chef Demos
What better way to showcase a new product than by having your favorite chef show you and your shoppers how to whip it up? Booking a celebrity or local chef to come show their favorite ways to spice up a meal encourages customers to engage with the special guest and stock up on an item they might not have known about otherwise.
Are you tired of playing the same grocery radio station through your store? Are the same acoustic covers of pop-radio songs getting tiring? Look no further! Providing in-store live music is a great way to switch things up and provide an entertaining shopping experience for your customers. Consider setting up the band in your cafe or sitting area, or if you don’t have one, rent a few park benches and picnic tables and have them set up outside on a nice, warm day.
We’re all familiar with check out charities, but how can you provide a personalized twist to your charitable contributions? Consider what Lucky’s Market’s Columbia, MO location does. When guests bring their own grocery bags, provide them with a token that they can then drop into one of three designated local charity bins. Allot a dollar amount to each token, count up how many tokens has been dropped into each charity bin, and then donate that amount every month.
Micro-Experiences may seem challenging, but they’re quite easy to accomplish. What will your store’s next Micro-Experience be?