Merchants are increasingly turning to “experiences” to help close the deal with consumers, and this holiday season, it’s working.
Whether it’s toy demos or personalized skincare sessions, stores are expanding beyond the traditional transactional product push to draw shoppers in and make a sale.
These experiential marketing ploys, Forbes reported, are helping retailers and shopping centers to combat the decline in foot traffic by offering in-store, sensory experiences that just can’t be attained online.
“We’re offering guests a variety of experiences — in stores and beyond — that bring the spirit of the holidays into focus,” Target spokesperson Erin Conroy told Forbes.
The retail giant is offering customers free cookies and toy demos as an unexpected way to capture attention and appeal to shoppers. The company began offering complimentary cocoa and cookies at 200 store locations last month to its customers.
Shoppers also had the option to play with toys during live demonstrations that took place at Target locations on Dec. 17. Conroy said the in-store demos gave parents a unique opportunity “to see what toys their kids love most before making those important gift decisions.”
At cosmetics brand retailer Kiehl’s, customers can give the gift of free personalized skincare sessions with Apothecary Preparations, which cost $95 and allow the receiver the option to buy a customized skincare serum after their session is over.
The service is available at all Kiehl’s store locations and is aimed at “bespoke skincare to the masses,” a press release stated.
“It’s a blend for you, [which] keeps them coming back,” Tiffany Mizell, an area trainer for Kiehl’s, told Forbes. The store keeps every customer’s personalized beauty regimen on file that addresses their specific skin needs.
Even robots are jumping on the “holiday experience” bandwagon.
In November, Westfield Shopping Centres began letting Pepper the robot interact with shoppers by greeting them, inviting them to take a selfie, playing games and even teaching them how to say “hello” in six different languages.
Pepper will also serve as a shopping assistant to customers by helping to locate stores and restaurants, answering questions and also texting shoppers via the Westfield app.
“Humanoid robots provide a playbook for customer engagement and can be viewed as an evolutionary step from self-service kiosks to conversational commerce, combining the two in smart and unique ways,” according to the report, “Utilizing Humanoid Robots for Customer Engagement.”