The role of the brick and mortar store is changing. As traffic fragments between online and offline retail outlets, the best brands are creating more reasons to stop into physical locations. It’s not just special sales and promotions that are driving traffic, my personal favorite tactic is authentic, kick-ass live events.
Brands should no longer operate their retail locations simply as points of sale—they need to treat them as the sneaky assets they truly are: highly-covetable event spaces.
According to research from the Event Marketing Institute, consumers who had a good experience at a brand event were 94% more likely to buy a product as a result.
Yet despite increased purchase intent, hosting events in a retail space isn’t just about pushing product. Great events entertain and educate. Great events bring life to the in-store customer journey. Great events extend the value of the brand and build loyalty with customers in a profound way.
And I’m not just talking about launch parties. Think about Apple. Their famous physical stores are almost landmarks now, but their foray into brick and mortar was considered a big risk in 2001. When every shop was hurriedly moving online, why would you waste money on a physical location?
The answer is experience.
With their open floor plans, access to tons of products, and their aptly-named Genius Bar, Apple didn’t just build a place to sell their Apple products. They built a space for Apple people. They knew their fans and customers were already swapping tips and product suggestions, so they answered the call of an unmet need and created a learning and entertainment hub that also happened to sell their wares.
But you don’t have to be Apple to start reimagining your retail opportunities. In-store events of any size provide incredible value to your brand. Besides delivering your message via a new medium and getting customers in front of your product, events provide prime opportunities to capture and create engaging social and digital content you can use long after the event is over.