Experiential retail: down to experience

Experiential retail

Source: Nathan Daniels

Savvy landlords are encouraging retail tenants to open experiental stores that attract customers by creating a fun alternative to online shopping.

As online shopping becomes the go-to source for routine purchases and millennials spend more of their disposable income on experiences rather than possessions, retailers have struggled to get customers through their doors.

“Why would you spend your free time shopping, when you can do it online on your lunch break at work?” asks James Burt, director in the retail team at GVA. 

For a growing number of retailers, the answer is to offer customers a unique experience – anything from taking a yoga class in a sportswear store, to seeing your handmade glass vase being blown or trying out a tech retailer’s latest virtual-reality goggles. Most hope this will translate into in-store sales. But some are taking a different tack. They are opening experiential ‘stores’ that sell very few or even no products in a bid to create brand loyalty.

How prevalent will such stores become? And what do landlords need to do to adapt to the new experiential retail landscape?

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