Shoppers want new and engaging high street experiences such as in-store events, and are spending more when they find them, new analysis suggests.
For UK retailers who are tapping into shopper demand for in-store events and experiences have seen annual turnover increase by an average of 14%, Barclaycard research found.
Retailers who are already investing in in-store events are now planning to double this investment over the next two years, while Barclaycard found that consumer spending on experiences and entertainment has risen by 10.5% so far in 2017.
As yet, more than a third (36%) now host events, from classes and courses to exclusive sales previews, in-store, with 19% planning to start doing so in the next three years.
Decision-makers plan to increase investment in this area by a further 113% over the next 24 months, suggesting that retailers now view in-store events as key to driving footfall and boost sales. Retailers intend to significantly reduce the amount they are investing in other business priorities, such as revamping their store layout (which they plan to decrease by 51%), increasing the variety and amount of stock (41%), or improving their website layout (33%).
Barclaycard [IRDX VBCA] suggests it’s important retailers channel their resources into the types of experiences their customers will best respond to. It found that 18 to 24-year-olds are more than twice as likely as the national average to want their favourite shops to offer in-store celebrity meet-and greets, fitness events – such as yoga classes – and education courses – such as language classes.
Fifteen per cent of generation Zers report that having in-store events after hours would encourage them to choose one retailer over another – representing an opportunity for retailers to build long-lasting brand loyalty and encourage shoppers back into stores time and again.
“Retailers who take advantage of the opportunities in the experience economy can really reap the rewards,” said George Allardice, head of strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions. “Our research has found that shoppers increasingly want to stay in stores for longer, rather than head home with their purchases.
“With consumer spending on entertainment and experiences increasing by 10.5% this year, there are opportunities across the board for shops of all shapes and sizes to capitalise on this and draw shoppers in with engaging experiences. Those who are already doing so are already seeing the benefits and it’s little wonder that these savvy retailers are planning to increase their investment in their in-store experiences over the next two years.”
James Backhouse, marketing director at Evans Cycles [IRDX RCYC], said: “We’ve piloted hosting organised bike ride events at our stores this year, with great success. The ‘RIDE IT’ routes start and finish at the store, and inside we host tea and coffees and give the riders a £5 voucher to spend after the ride. Over half of participants spend the voucher there and then, with a healthy average spend – showing the power that events like these have to bring people into our shops and the Evans Cycles community.
“The events are also helping us attract new audiences and build loyalty amongst our customers: nearly a third of attendees hadn’t been on an organised ride before, while 96% say they would attend another event with us. In fact, the pilot has been so successful that we’re planning to double the number of stores hosting RIDE IT events next year.”
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