More than half (52%) of UK consumers would rather pay for an "enjoyable experience" than for a material item, says a new study.
The same proportion would recommend their friends a good brand experience rather than a purchase they’ve made, suggests new research by Barclaycard. Some 2,000 UK consumers and 250 companies were polled to understand whether the experiences brands offer meet customers’ expectations.
The study suggests there’s a good opportunity for retailers willing to prioritise the experience they offer, whether that’s creating interactive or unusual experiences in the physical environment.
The research comes as The Perfume Shop prepares to launch a pop-up shop that will sell emotion-associated perfumes for four-days in central London.
The ’shop of feelings,’ which will open from October 24 until October 28 in Covent Garden will celebrate the influence that perfumes have on consumers’ mood. It will particularly focus on scents that make them feel "sexy, calm, invigorated, and happy."
The store will have experts on hand to guide customers through different mood-related perfumes as well as classic fragrances and gift sets for Christmas.
Cathy Newman, The Perfume Shop marketing and customer experience director, said: “Ten years ago people walked into our stores and headed for the men’s section, or women’s section or just the brand they knew. Today’s customers are very different, they don’t shop by gender anymore, they want to explore different notes and be transported emotionally by their perfume."
Newman concludes: “We can’t wait to hear customer feedback on the pop-up shop in Covent Garden, and who knows this new way of shopping by feelings could be the future for fragrance.”
Pop-up stores are becoming an increasingly popular location for retailers to engage with its clientele, the Barclaycard research finds. More than half (57%) of UK shoppers who took part in the poll enjoy finding shops in non-traditional locations; 23% of this group had visited a pop-up store in the last year. A further two-thirds (68%) suggest that they respond "positively" to retailers that "surprise" them with "unexpected" experiences or interactions.
The need for retailers to offer customers something extra is especially important for food and drink retailers. Some 68% of UK respondents find the environment they are served in as important as the food and drink they buy.
Despite the value that investing in the experience economy presents, 28% of polled UK businesses say that this is an area of "focus." The top reasons given by retailers for not prioritising experiences are a shortage of expertise (31%) and lack of financial resources (26%).
Daniel Mathieson, head of sponsorship at Barclaycard, says: “To create long-lasting relationships brands need to offer more than the best product or service – they need to tap into consumers’ hearts and minds too. Our data shows that consumers now seek out entertainment above all else when deciding how to spend their money so focusing on seizing this opportunity should be a key priority.”
He concludes: “By providing something extra, whether that’s engaging with music fans by being present at their favourite festival or creating pop-up stores in new locations, brands that are part of shaping meaningful and shareable memories will be the ones that thrive in an experience-led economy.”
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