Consumption has evolved over the last few years, the customer is no longer just looking to buy but to live an experience. It is the entire purchasing process, even before the choice of product and the checkout, that will shape the consumer’s buying experience and influence their choices.
According to a survey from Shopify, 70% of the people interviewed consider that sensations count for 50% in their purchase decision. Similarly, 82% say that experiential marketing is the most appropriate form of communication for purchase since it provides a foretaste of the pleasure of consumption. So what exactly is an experiential marketing and how can it be used in your store? We give you all our advice so that this approach to business is no longer a secret for you.
What is experiential marketing?
This concept was first brought to light by the work of Holbrook and Hirschman in 1982, on consumer experience, and was named “experiential marketing” by Bernd Schmitt in the 1990s. He highlights the importance of the experience lived by consumers during their purchases and the need for brands to take it into account. He precisely defines this notion of experiential marketing as all the devices put in place by the brand to give the customer an unforgettable experience before the purchase.
Mainly used for B to C, this form of communication can be built from the different resources that the company has. Indeed, the company can choose to create this experience thanks to the quality of its reception, its environment, or the information it gives to the customers. Salespeople can also be part of the experience and help intensify it with customers.
Using experiential marketing in your business
Like customer perception and satisfaction, the notion of experiences “delivered” by the company and “perceived” by the consumer may not always correspond. Consumption is no longer only material, the experience lived by the customer is just as important since it will make him assimilate the symbols of the brand, live emotions, and thus promote a more subjective than logical purchase.
The different approaches
In terms of customer experience, we can distinguish three categories:
Decor, design, and staging
Creativity and originality are the watchwords for a successful consumer experience. You can act on this lever by separating spaces and creating ephemeral decorations that will energize your business. You can also modify the lighting to redefine the atmosphere of your store. Finally, make sure that your store is a common thread that allows the customer to quickly distinguish the style, the atmosphere and to find his way around the store.
Active customer participation
Accompanying the customer in the environment you want him to discover is an essential point of experiential marketing. In fact, tastings or product tests are highly appreciated before the purchase and are a sign of quality for the customer. The objective is not to force the customer to buy but rather to make him participate actively in the experience so that it is all the more enriching.
Create a story
The store must be anchored in its history and stand out thanks to it. The customer’s visit to the store must result in the assimilation of a distinctive memory. It is therefore essential that the store tells a story that arouses the curiosity of customers. The goal here is to create proximity, attachment and strengthen the emotional bond between the consumer and the brand.
The levers to take into account
In the same way, 4 levers are to be taken into account when setting up an experiential approach within a business:
The surprise effect
The objective is to cut the consumer off from his daily life, to create a break from his environment. It’s a matter of making the customer discover a new experience, creating a surprise that intensifies his sensations and accentuates his emotions.
Stimulating the 5 senses
Acting on all the senses of the customer, smell, hearing, sight, taste, allows to transport the person and to stimulate his imagination. The experience becomes immersive and totally immerses the consumer in the brand’s universe.
Presenting the extraordinary
The more the experience is out of the ordinary, the more likely it is to remain anchored in the customer’s memory. For this, it is essential to create a feeling of exclusivity and to interact with the consumer.
Create a bond
This is a great opportunity for the brand to connect with its community. It is imperative to create an authentic and lasting bond leading to customer loyalty.
Experiential marketing is not just about a consumer experience but more about a flow of experiences. In order to set up a complete approach, first, identify your target and what they expect from your offer.
Then, depending on your budget, develop a staging, atmosphere, etc. You can create ephemeral experiences that will surprise your consumers and attract new customers. Experiential marketing sometimes relies on a few details: the greeting of salespeople, scents, decoration.
It is therefore essential not to neglect it. The quality of the offer is no longer the only thing that defines customer loyalty, the consumption experience also plays a key role.