This is something I have been saying for a long time. There is a very strong future role for physical retailers if owners ensure that the customer’s visit has a high level of experiential retail within it.
In Superquinn we always tried to deliver the unexpected. On Mother’s Day, each of our checkout operators would hand any female shopper a carnation with a card and wish them a happy Mother’s Day. We also ran an event at our bakeries for the same occasion where kids could come in and decorate the cake they were buying for mum.
And, of course, there were our hot fresh pancakes in the run-up to Pancake Tuesday, when we would literally sell hundreds of thousands of hot fresh pancakes across our shops.
Our butchers and bakers operated an open view of the customer and the famous Superquinn sausages always attracted a crowd of onlookers as our butchers filled the sausage meat and tied the sausage in that traditional manner.
We would even surprise customers at the weekend by cleaning their car windscreen and leaving a little business card on the wiper which said, ‘we have been washing while you were shopping’.
It was all designed to ensure that the customer didn’t become bored. While many of the experiences I have described to you are associated with food retailing, there is nothing to stop you adopting the principle of making the shopping visit as entertaining as possible.
I think today that some retail models have gone very flat and lack a sense of energy and theatre.
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