GIVE THEM AN EXPERIENCE
Experiential Retail Marketing
With jewellery being made available at the click of a button, and omni-channel being the mantra, retailers need to make simple but powerful shifts in order to offer the consumers memorable experiences. Can a children’s play area do the trick? Or does having an in-house make-up artist (so that the to-be bride can try out jewellery along with makeup) add value? As a retailer, one needs to look beyond price and service and think of creating immersive experiences for the customers. From interactive mirrors to selfie-booths or creating a façade in your store that educates your audience about your brand, its history and heritage there are any number of things you can do to not just get more customers, but also make them loyal towards your brand. By Kavita Parab
Marketing and selling to today’s extra conscious, well-read and well-travelled consumer is not easy. It’s no more only about selling products through traditional advertising mediums like TV, Radio or Print. Marketing or selling to these picky consumers is not only about delivering best quality products but also about selling these products in the best possible friendly manner. They need information, authenticity, need to feel connected with the brand, and above all they are looking for an experience that would be a lasting memory. And this is why experiential retail marketing is a key tool in making brands more personalised.
There have been quite a few experience or is more convenient. international brands like Ikea, Muji, Sephora and Pandora who have placed experiential retail marketing at the centre of their offerings.
Last year, Ikea introduced The Dining Club which was based around celebrating the joy of people cooking together. The Dining Club featured a DIY pop-up restaurant, an IKEA cafe serving Swedish delicacies, ‘Food for thought’ workshops, a kitchen showcase area including a virtual reality kitchen, and a unique shop. It was a fully immersive dining experience. The joy of cooking together was not just about cooking food together but it’s about building memories together. Response to this was an overwhelming one as many of the participants felt that they have missed being with the large group of friends, eating with them, spending time with them.
Another well-known cosmetics brand Sephora, has been involved in experiential marketing for a while now. In 2015, the brand launched Beauty TIP Workshop, which focused on three core concepts: teach, inspire and play. It was about making the beauty shopping journey more fun and engaging wherein the beauty workstations acted as a hub and iPads on the floor offered digitally-enabled self service.
Changing Consumer Mindset
If we thought that ecommerce will bring down the in-store shopping, then we are wrong. The consumer of today prefers online as well as offline shopping. However, retailers can bring out a sea change in their brand followership if they include immersive retailing as a part of their selling. With changing consumer mindset, it is crucial that the retailers concentrate more on in-store experiences.
According to the National Retail Federation’s 2017 “Consumer View” report, which polled 3,002 millennials and Gen Z consumers in July 2017, younger consumers embrace physical retail when it offers a new experience or is more convenient.
It can be difficult to sway consumer behaviour when it comes to physical retail. But younger consumers show they can be convinced to visit stores more frequently when offered the chance to have a new experience or pick up items they order online.
Half (49 per cent) of Millennial/Gen Z respondents say they are shopping in stores more than they were a year ago. Compared to a year ago, are you visiting physical retail stores more or less often than you used to?
Creating stronger brandconsumer relationships
Experiential retail marketing has the potential to create direct connections and strengthen relationship with the consumers. It also helps build loyalty. When a consumer gets a memorable experience, he or she would definitely write about it on social media or mention it to their friends. As the consumer must have liked the experience, they must have shared their contact details wholeheartedly. Thus, what a traditional marketing channel may take month to achieve may be achieved in a shorter span of time through experiential marketing. Experiential retail marketing has a better one-on-one approach which helps build stronger and lasting consumer relationship. Experiences make memories and memories leave a mark that build stronger brand loyalty. Talking about building stronger brand-consumer relationship, Krishaa Ghanasingh, Creative Director, Ghanasingh Be True said, “Recently, we launched Belleza which was launched in association with Bina Aziz. With every jewellery, we presented a painting that inspired a particular jewellery piece. We have had grooming sessions, image consultants, at our store on special days like Women’s day, Valentines’ Day. Such events are about relaxing and enjoying the day with us, which has certainly helped in increasing consumer brand. They help in building loyalty amongst the consumers.”
As markers are realizing the importance of brand experiences, their spending is shifted towards it. According to the Freeman Global Brand Experience Study, which was released in May 2017 by brand experience agency Freeman and data company SSI, one in three CMOs is expected to allocate between 21 and 50 per cent of their budget to brand experience marketing over the next three to five years.
One way to remain in the minds of the consumers is using multisensory approach for experiential retailing.
The most important variable used by brands to generate recognition and develop an identity in the market is the sense of sight. It includes storefront, signage, logo, displays, etc. With regard to displays, the products to be displayed have to be fairly large, for them to be seen from a moving car, because the distance is normally such that not much is visible unless it’s a mainly pedestrian zone, like a store within a Mall. The key thing to be remembered is that this display talks about your store’s image whether that’s trendy, upscale, fun, or sophisticated. So, setting up the perfect display plays the most important role in ensuring footfall.
Even the sight of smiling sales associates plays a huge role in spreading the good word about the brand.
Studies have shown that background music in retail stores actually impacts the way customers engage with their environment. Slow music helps a customer to relax and spend more time in the store. Music is not only needed to keep the shoppers in the store but also helps in enhancing brand experience. Martina Berlin, senior event manager at Pandora while sharing the jewellery brand’s experiential strategy at Event360 had mentioned –“…the spring collection showroom would be full of the sounds of singing birds the summer collection showroom would be infused with the smell of freshly cut grass and the autumn collection showroom would be complete with the feeling of rustling leaves beneath guest’s feet.
Such experiences wherein a brand is trying to match experience with the brand ethos and collection would be remembered by the consumers forever. “You may involve technology to lure customer which may bring in footfall but it won’t lead to assured sales. Selling has to be an overall experience – be it fragrance at the store, colour scheme, overall presentation, brand values, everything counts in the experience,” Saurabh Gadgil, CMD, PNG Jewellers.
One of the best example of sensory appeal has been Tiffany’s turquoise colour which is linked to ageless and elegance and quality that the brand signifies. Colour has been central part of Tiffany & Co.’s marketing approach to create an identification and memory as well as sensory appeal. Their trademark blue box tied with a white ribbon clearly conveys ‘Tiffany’.
Tiffany & Co. last year opened the Blue Box Café at its New York City flagship location. This new addition embodies the spirit of the 1961 Audrey Hepburn classic movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The artfully composed floor also houses Tiffany’s new luxury Home & Accessories collection of elevated everyday objects, as well as a baby boutique, sterling silver hollowware, a selection of vintage books curated by Assouline and a Tiffany fragrance laboratory. In the press release from Tiffany & Co, Reed Krakoff stated that “both the café and redesign of the Home & Accessories floor reflect a modern luxury experience. The space is experimental and experiential – a window into the new Tiffany.”
One of the biggest differences between online stores and in-stores experiences is the tactility. Especially in the jewellery industry, touch plays an important role. Even jewellery products want to evoke our senses adopting names like Bohemian, La Rose, Flower Child etc.A retailer who has been able to engage his customers through multi-sensory approach will surely get his customers to return to the store again and again. Brands like House of Rose, Ghanasingh Be True have been involved in making shopping a luxury experience by organizing events wherein indulgence of customer is of prime importance than just selling the products.
Experiential Retail is the future
Experiential retail is all about giving an unforgettable experience to the consumer, making it more personalized. It could be like Ikea offering sleepover in its store. Thus, the brand got its fans to focus on what Ikea has to offer and try it out for themselves.
Jewellery, too, has an emotional value for its buyers and retailers can cash on it by providing them with an unforgettable buying experience. People buy jewellery to celebrate their special moments, their milestones and if they want to make it special, why not?
Making Buying Memorable
When it comes to spending money and especially when it is all about selling precious and expensive stuff, services offered and buying experience tops the list of MUST’s for the jewellery retailers. Here we have listed few such experiences that are offered by retailers around the world: Since 2004, Rose has also been conducting master classes and luncheons for select patrons. For one such luncheon, a live kitchen was set up with Biren Vaidya (who is an artist even in the kitchen) at the helm cooking for the ladies himself.
Another experiential retail marketing gem from Vaidya is Rose: The Watch Bar. A revolutionary retail concept from the House of Rose that promises not only to be a purveyor of fine watches but also some of the finest coffees, teas and other concoctions. It’s an experience that is akin to spending an evening at your favourite lounge; soothed, caressed and relaxed, unlike any other in the world. A concept that truly makes shopping a luxurious experience.
The Watch Club, presented by Rose: The Watch Bar, assists as a medium of awareness and aspiration, promoting coveted crafts, innovations and exclusive services from the world of haute horlogerie to Indian shores. A purveyor of all things fine, this “invite only’ club presents to its members indulgent experiences in India and the world over through personalised manufactory visits, rencontres with watch makers, master classes, invitations to some of the finest auctions and events in the world.
Wouldn’t it be so interesting to know in-depth about the product that a customer plans to invest heavily in? This is exactly what Joyalukkas in India is doing. The Diamond Cave at Joyalukkas gives an insight on the journey of the precious stone. Joyalukkas, Chennai, which is also one of the largest jewellery showrooms in the world has a ‘Diamond Cave’. This distinctive idea provides customers a chance to understand the method of crafting diamond jewellery, starting from mining the stone to finally setting it in metal. The cave commences with an exhibit on how diamonds are born and about their origin along with a display of rough diamonds. A diamond cutting machine along with quite a few test pieces revealing the different methods in which diamonds are cut, are also on display. They also inform the customers about the criteria on which a diamond is graded along with the design and manufacturing process. There is a designer using design software seated in the cave along with a goldsmith creating pieces with the use of stones in various setting. Isn’t this interesting?
Rare Heritage store launched in 2014 is a one-stop bridal house catering to all bridal luxurious trousseau needs. It is the ultimate luxury store that brings vintage and modern jewellery, stylized couture, bespoke artifacts and shopping experiences under one roof to redefine the wedding shopping experience in India! It reflects the charm and romance of yesteryears’ and contemporary jewellery. It houses creations, which are crafted by India’s finest artisans, bringing back the era of grandeur and also, perfectly balancing them out with strong, fresh, today’s elements to reinvent classics.
Tiffany & Co.’s Blue Box Café
Tiffany & Co. has launched the highly anticipated renovation of the fourth floor at its Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York, including Tiffany’s first ever retail dining concept – The Blue Box Cafe. The artfully composed floor also houses Tiffany’s new luxury Home & Accessories collection of elevated everyday objects, as well as a baby boutique, sterling silver hollowware, a selection of vintage books curated by Assouline and a Tiffany fragrance laboratory. The iconic Tiffany Blue® is infused throughout the interior floor plan and most notably at the forefront of the café’s design. The striking interior décor incorporates industrial details that evoke Tiffany’s craftsmanship and heritage.
‘Try At Home’ campaign by Bluestone
In 2017, BlueStone.com launched a campaign to promote its unique ‘Try At Home’ experience with its first and newly appointed brand ambassador, Alia Bhatt. As part of the new campaign, the online jewellery brand had launched a TVC, featuring the young and vivacious actress, who exemplifies the spirit of picking the finest in jewellery. The 40 second Ad film portrays her as a fervent shopper who enjoys every moment of the unique ‘Try At Home’ experience offered to her by the jewellery brand before making her purchase. Key aspects that grab the viewer’s attention include the element of convenience and a choice of the trendiest designs in contemporary fine jewellery offered by the brand.
Their ‘Try At Home’ service has helped them to connect with their customers at a personal level, raising the bar on the overall jewellery shopping experience.
Caratlane’s 3D Virtual Jewellery Try-On App
A virtual experience to try on jewellery before buying is what the new app - Try- On App - by CaratLane is all about. Customers can gain a better understanding of how earrings purchased on CaratLane look on them, reports say. The company intends to help customers find the perfect jewellery suited to them.
The app is based on a 3D-experience design, reports say. It uses ‘facial recognition and 3D imaging technologies to create a life-like immersive try-on experience’. This 3D Virtual jewellery try-on feature captures a video of the customer and creates a 3D view of the customer wearing CaratLane earrings, reports say. Movement is shown by the technology, as the customer can ‘swipe’ to see various angles of her face with the earrings, to finally make a choice. The pictures / look can be shared on social media like Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.
“The key experience that ORRA provides to its customers is the ORRA Crown Star, a 73 faceted diamond as compared to the regular 57 facets. Through the creation of a dedicated counter with the brilliance scope combined with elements of decor across our 33 stores, we provide a true experience of luxury to every customer who walks in through our doors.
Taking consumer engagement online, we have also recently introduced a specially curated range of rings, earrings and pendants, where customers can choose from a host of designs exactly how they would like their personalized piece to be. We have taken a small step in the direction of bespoke jewellery with a quick turnaround time which is uncommon in the industry. Consumers have always been driven by how they relate to a product and by allowing personalization in jewellery we are enabling them to see a part of themselves in the product,” said Vijay Jain (CEO and Director – ORRA