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Industry Buzz September 2017, Surviving ‘The Amazon’ Part 3: Shoppertainment

SURVIVING ‘THE AMAZON’: SHOPPERTAINMENT

While Amazon leads the on-line world in perfecting e-commerce sales, it is physically not capable of providing the touch / feel / try experience as found in brick-and-mortar retail environments. Malls were built on the premise that people enjoy the convenience of one-stop-shopping that Amazon can provide but add a layer of experience that cannot be found when sitting behind a computer. (It’s no coincidence that makeup is sold more within retail locations and home sales than e-commerce).

Gaining significant popularity within the retail world is a term called ‘Shoppertainment’. All retailers should note Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods and their focus on touch/feel/try/taste while leveraging the pull-through power as they create an entertaining shopping experience.

Practice 2: SHOPPERTAINMENT!

 Today the concept of selling experiences is spreading beyond theaters and theme parks. The goal of ‘shoppertainment’ or ‘experiential retailing’ is to draw shoppers into the physical space by offering interactive and engaging activities. Fortunately, shoppertainment does not need to be expensive or challenging. One way to look at it is thinking about what you would do differently if you charged admission. Several guidelines to generate store traffic and increase revenues are as follows:

  • Run one major event in your store each month or two. A major event is one that builds traffic and packs your store with customers. Participants should not only participate but buy while they are there. Examples of major events include classes, seminars and forums. Vender days are very popular with many hydroponic retailers.
  • Run one to three minor events in your store each month. Keep the events relevant to horticulture/growing. Minor events draw customers to your store but should not take a lot of time. A good example of a minor event is Home Depot which holds in-store workshops to teach weekend do-it-yourselfers how to complete home renovation projects on their own. Minor events for hydroponic retailers might include mini classes every Thursday night or on slow days to increase traffic every week.
  • Exploit all of your customer’s senses on a regular basis. While most do, all retailers should grow plants within their store. Run side-by-side tests comparing nutrients or light sources. Show customers how to use a brix meter. Give away cherry tomatoes, hot peppers grown within the store. Most of all, share ‘fun’ with your customers.
  • Utilize your suppliers!
  • Track metrics. Compare store traffic and revenue for event days vs non-event days. Make sure to compare same days of the week and days within the same time of year.

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