Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Makes a Great Retail Experience?

Here's a brief article that is a roundtable of smart folks answering the simple question: What Makes a Great Retail Experience? The participants include some experts in creating retail experiences, including Frances Allen from Dunkin’ Donuts, Michael Copeland from Cabela’s, and James Damian from Best Buy.

You'll find their insights interesting, but the simplest and most obvious message was delivered by David Sommer of GroupM Retail:

This will sound simple, but a great retail experience is about paying attention to the shopper, first and foremost. There is now a dizzying array of new in-store vehicles—whether it’s digital screens or projection media or interactive kiosks. But the key thing about the retail experience is thinking about shoppers and their mission, making it convenient for the shopper, and thinking about whether they’re open to exciting, new things in the product categories they’re shopping.

Why does it seem so revolutionary to tell business to concentrate on their customer?!? Too many marketers are so focused on what they wish to tell the consumer or what they want from the consumer that they actually forget to listen to their customers and give them what they want.

This point is especially pertinent right now with respect to Retail Digital Signage (RDS). There's a lot of buzz about RDS in the marketing and retail worlds, and I'm concerned history will repeat itself. Just like with the first television sponsorships or the first banner ads, the newness of the RDS medium will attract consumers' attention, and its success will attract more marketing money. But soon our retail stores may become oceans of blinking, animated signs, all competing for attention and none of them earning it.

I love this comment from Mr. Sommer because if marketers' exploration of RDS and any new media don't start and end with an understanding of what consumers want and need, the early promise will fizzle into more consumer apathy toward marketing and very poor results for brands.

Check out more at Thanks to Erik from the Experiential Marketing Forum for sharing this link.

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