Sip & Shop - The Rising Trend
Technology has shaped the way we now shop, changing it forever. The purpose of the retail store has likewise been affected and has therefore evolved itself, with consumer experience playing a huge role within marketing of brands and their products.
While it used to be solely a transactional facility, retail businesses have now begun to focus on providing customers with these experiences aside from their products to enhance their customer’s journeys in the real world, creating a shopping process that can’t be replicated online.
What is experiential retail?
Experiential retail is immersive and shareable experience where stores offer more than just products. They immerse consumers into a world of the brand and culture whilst showcasing what makes their offering unique. This can range from live music, DJ’s, virtual reality, personal shoppers, cafés and lounges, large video displays, interactive technology and MUCH more… the creative opportunities are huge!
Selfridges have taken retail therapy to a new, more real level, integrating therapeutic experiences in store, from sex therapy sessions to confidence coaching.
Farfetch in Mayfair is home to one of the first large, augmented retail solutions formed by technology to make the consumer experience more enhanced and human. The tech involves an app enables shoppers to view things such as Chanel’s runway outfits, hi-tech dressing rooms with mirror displays showing customer’s fashion choices and the ability to manage appointments in app, linking the online and offline world into one unique consumer experience.
Flannels are changing the way their customers get to shop with multiple stope adaptions. Their Beauty Bar is a space which offers the latest ‘menu’ of trends, products, and exclusive beauty collaborations that can be enjoyed over coffee or cocktails. The beauty changing rooms is another addition to their beauty halls with interactive, digitally connected private spaces designed for consumers to test, trial and play with products before purchasing.
Lush are a simple example of a brand who pair exceptional customer service with simple in store experiences to create the best environment for their consumers. Their stores are well known for the colourful, beautifully scented, live demonstrations on the shop floor or surrounding the big sinks, where customers are also actively encouraged to test and interact with the products themselves.
Nike’s Soho flagship store built its very own in-store event spaces from a basketball court, soccer trial space, and treadmills which all allow customers to try products out in their intended environment whilst at the same time creating a fun and social space to share with people who hold similar interests. This set up also gives customers the opportunity to get more personalised advice based on how they move around these areas the Nike products are designed for.
The Sip and Shop Trend
Laundry and Latte, a small and very innovative little launderette you can find on the Brentwood high street in Essex, are tapping into one of the newest trends we are seeing in the market – Sip and Shop.
This trend is beginning to make a mark on experiential shopping as retailers and service providers are giving consumers more and making their visits memorable, for example Hairdressers with DJ’s and a bar.
The Essex Laundry combines both a laundry and a café, and better still, the venue is fully licenced, so you can even enjoy an alcoholic drink while you watch your clothing spin around. Sarah-Jane Adams and Dee Anderson, two friends who have co-founded Laundry and Latte shared the experience their service is offering locals: “Recently, we had a mum come in who said ‘it’s been an awful week… oh you do wine!’. And she sat down and had a large glass of wine while we did her washing for her.”
Whilst this form of marketing is superb for creating social, enticing environments for brands and customers, there is concern for encouraging excessive drinking. Plus, alcohol can make shoppers more impulsive with their purchase decisions, is this unethical or just simply clever marketing?
Regardless of this, Sip and Shop licences (an alcohol requested licence from the local authorities) are reportedly growing as the younger generation particularly are no longer content just sitting in a bar.
The industry is set to continue growing and with minimal limit on the creative possibilities we look forward to seeing what brands will be bringing to enhance the shopping experience.