I recently visited Sloan’s Ice Cream in Florida for the second time in my life. Talk about a childhood fantasy! For those (like myself) who have never heard of or been to Sloan’s, imagine walking into Candy Land or a Willy Wonka factory. From the bright and colorful signage, sugarcoated displays, and fairytale wallpaper, to the (dare I say) breathtaking bathroom (I’m embarrassed to say I took a picture), Sloan’s has drawn upon everything that makes sweet treats magical.
Although Sloan’s has been doing this for a long time, the idea of capitalizing on the retail “experience” has really been a game-changer for others in the past few years. Brands and retailers alike have started to use innovative technology that allows consumers to interact with their products on a more personal level within the retail space.
As an athlete, I’ve always looked at Nike as an inspirational retailer, providing this sort of “experience.” The store doesn’t simply display athletic apparel, but allows consumers to interact with the merchandise in a way that seems to have only been done in the tech space. Images, videos and quotes of some of the greatest sports figures can be found all over the store, making the consumers who enter feel as if they too can be great.
Nike additionally gives consumers the ability to customize their own shoes, as well as help them choose the right style and fit to meet individualized needs, both in-store and online.
Similarly, by playing up the fact that every consumer is different and comes to retailers with different needs, customization has become more and more popular. Sephora has done this in the beauty space with their Color IQ technology by capturing a picture of your skin in order to match the best foundation with your skin tone.
Whether you are selling goods or a service, find a way for consumers to engage with it. Make them leave feeling like they’ve been a part of a great experience. Regardless of whether they end up making a purchase or not, they will at least walk out with great a story to tell. Make it a memorable one!