The Essential Guide To In-Location Experience Management For Retailers

Our recent State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report told us three big things that brick and mortar retailers should keep mind as they develop their in-store experience strategies for the upcoming year:

  • Brand loyalty is low — 25% of consumers say they switch brands more often today than ever before.
  • Competitorsrong are improving — 29.8% of respondents said customer service has gotten better in the past year.
  • Experiences are more important ever than — Eight out of 10 respondents said they consider the in-store experience important or very important.

The consumer you are trying to bring into your store today is a very different one from last year but, there is some good news here. 46% of respondents said that given the choice, they still would prefer to shop in person rather than online.

These findings are clear: a big chunk of consumers still prefer shopping in-person and think the in-store experience is incredibly important.

To survive and thrive in the years ahead, obsessing over the in-store experience is no longer a choice, it’s a must.

Retailers need to drive more revenue from every customer that steps inside, leverage their physical presence to increase customer lifetime value, and overall, justify the value of these locations so they can be kept open.

To do this, smart retailers are placing their bets on the importance of the in-location experience because they understand that good in-store experiences are key to surviving and are still key competitive advantage. But they struggle with the complexity of consistently delivering incredible customer experiences.

Enter in-location experience management, a growing discipline that retail professionals are adding to their lists of must-have skills to survive and thrive in the future. The discipline focuses on delivering memorable, engaging, and high impact experiences in an organization’s physical locations.

What is in-location experience management exactly? How do you get the most out of it? And what value can it bring to your organization?

In this guide, we’ll answer all those questions and more. At the end of this guide, you’ll know exactly how to plan, create, and deliver in-location experiences at scale.

  • #1
    Chapters 1

    In-Location Experience Management 101

  • #2
    Chapters 2

    Examples of In-Location Experiences Retailers Can Offer

  • #3
    Chapters 3

    In-Location Experience Management 101

  • #4
    Chapters 4

    A Step by Step Process to Delivering In-Location Experiences

Chapter 1: What is In-Location Experience
Management and Why Does it Matter to Retailers?

In-location Experience Management is defined as the discipline of creating, managing, and scaling the experiences you deliver to offline customers who visit your physical locations.

The experiences are often delivered through live events, immersive environments, or through interactive screens — including displays, TVs, tablets, and kiosk that an offline customer interacts with in a physical location.

These experiences typically include any combination of the following:

  • Visual — images and videos customers see displayed
  • Touch — interactions with physical products, touch-screens, etc.
  • Sound — music, information, etc. they hear

As consumer trends continue to shift, mastering the skill of in-location experience management will become increasingly important for retailers looking to get the most out of their physical spaces.


The Importance of In-Location Experiences in the COVID Era

Change was already well under way as customers shifted to buying more online but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that change far faster than anyone could have ever anticipated, bringing many organizations to their knees.

Despite the grim numbers about physical store closures and the uncertain future we face as the world braces for another potential lockdown, there is one thing that remains certain in the long term: there will always be customers out there who prefer visiting physical locations.

Our first annual State of Consumer Behavior 2020 report found that 54% of consumers preferred to shop in-person over online. This was conducted in January of 2020, just a few months prior to the pandemic beginning but it demonstrated what we believe to be true — there will always be consumers who want to shop in person. For them, shopping isn’t just about buying goods, it’s an experience, something to do, and something to keep them busy.

In our second annual report, the State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report, it showed that despite all the change the pandemic has brought, many consumers still crave that same in-location experience over online shopping with 48% saying that they preferred it.

For a brand to survive and thrive in the modern era, experiences are not a nice to have — they are a must. Our findings highlighted the impact that experiences can have — both good and bad.

The Impact of In-Location of Delivering Experiences

*Data from our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 Report*

90% of consumers say they are more likely to return again if they have a positive in-location customer experience.

61% of consumers say they are likely to spend more at a location if they have a positive in-location customer experience.

65% of consumers say they are likely to spend more online with a brand if they have a positive in-location customer experience.

53% of consumers say they are “very likely” to tell someone else about a positive in-location customer experience.

With the value that in-location experiences can bring made clear, now, let’s take a look at some specific examples of experiences that brick and mortar retailers can deploy.

Chapter 2: What Are Examples of In-Location
Experiences Retailers Can Offer?

Experiences are something that are unique to each and every brand but based on our research, conversations, and what we’ve seen from our work with 2500+ brick and mortar retailers, experiences can typically be broken up into the following groups:


Click-and-Collect Experiences

As both shipping fees and delivery times have increased this year, more and more consumers are turning to options that let them order online and pick up in-location. Research shows that 48% of surveyed shoppers used BOPIS (by online, pick up in-store) to counter shipping fees, and 58% said they’ve not ordered from a brand because they did not offer a click-and-collect experience.

Give your customers a way to purchase your products faster and cheaper than they get online.

Example: Apple offers customers a seamless way to pick up items ordered online — simply from scanning a QR code.

Immersive Experiences

If customers want to simply buy something, there’s a good chance that they will just buy online. But what many modern consumers also want is an experience that’s memorable, unique, and fun. If you follow the money, 52% of millenials spending budget goes towards experience-related purchases.

Give your customers an immersive experience they will share across their social media channels, tell all their friends about, and never forget.

Example: Canada Goose engages customers with “cold rooms”that let them put their jackets to the test.

  • A Specific and Clearly Defined Customer Experience

  • Leads to a Behavioral Change

  • That Impacts Your Target Objective

  • Immersive Experience that lets them touch & feel the products

  • Customers get used to trying items before they buy

  • More customers visit your stores

  • STEP 1

    Outline the in-location experience you want to create

  • STEP 2

    Identify the customer behavior change the experience will createe

  • STEP 3

    Determine the target objectives and key results of the experience

  • STEP 4

    Deploy your experience then measure, improve, and scale

  • Objective 1:

    Increase In-location Revenue

    • 1: Customer spend per location visit
    • 2: Customer conversion (% that purchase after entering)
    • 3: Cost per acquisition (new customers acquired through physical locations)
  • Objective 2:

    Promote New Products, Services, and offers

    • 1: Total number of sales/revenue generated from a specific offer, product or service (ex. QR code only shown on screens in physical locations)
  • Objective 3:

    Deliver a More Streamlined Customer Journey

    • 1: Average time spent to get customers through the door (from entrance to checkout)
  • Objective 4:

    Decrease staff costs

    • 1: In-location revenue divided by the number of workers on-site
  • Objective 5:

    Align online and offline marketing efforts

    • 1: Average lifetime value of customers (combining online and offline customer spend)
  • Objective 6:

    Support brand values

    • 1: Average customer spend within 30 days of visiting your physical locations)
    • 2: Customer NPS


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