Shoppers in the UK no longer see the high street as just somewhere to make a purchase. Increasingly they are opting to ‘shop and stay’, spending time – and money – in shops that offer engaging and entertaining experiences.
New research from Barclaycard reveals that retailers who are tapping into the growth of the “experience economy” by hosting events and providing entertainment in their physical stores have seen annual turnover increase by an average of 14 per cent.
With consumer spending on experiences and entertainment up 10.5 per cent so far this year, savvy retailers are looking to capitalise on this trend. Over a third (36 per cent) now host events in-store, such as classes, courses and exclusive sales previews, with 19 per cent planning to start doing so in the next three years.
Indicating that retailers now view in-store events as key to driving footfall and boost sales, decision-makers plan to increase investment in this area by a further 113 per cent over the next 24 months. To accommodate this, retailers intend to significantly reduce the amount they are investing in other business priorities, such as revamping their store layout (which they plan to decrease by 51 per cent), increasing the variety and amount of stock (41 per cent), or improving their website layout (33 per cent).
The in-store experience opportunity
To make the most of the opportunity to engage ‘shop and stay’ consumers, it’s important retailers channel their resources into the types of experiences their customers will best respond to. For younger customers especially engaging shopping experiences are paramount.
Demonstrating a marked generational difference in the types of events they’d like to see in-store, 18 to 24 year olds are more than twice as likely as the national average to want their favourite shops to offer in-store celebrity meet-and greets, fitness events (such as yoga classes) and education courses (such as language classes)*.
In fact, Gen Z shoppers are so experience-oriented that one in six 18-24 year olds (15 per cent) report that having in-store events after hours would encourage them to choose one retailer over another – representing an opportunity for retailers to build long-lasting brand loyalty and encourage shoppers back into stores time and again.
George Allardice, Head of Strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said: “Retailers who take advantage of the opportunities in the experience economy can really reap the rewards. Our research has found that shoppers increasingly want to stay in stores for longer, rather than head home with their purchases.
“With consumer spending on entertainment and experiences increasing by 10.5 per cent this year, there are opportunities across the board for shops of all shapes and sizes to capitalise on this and draw shoppers in with engaging experiences. Those who are already doing so are already seeing the benefits and it’s little wonder that these savvy retailers are planning to increase their investment in their in-store experiences over the next two years.”
James Backhouse, Marketing Director, Evans Cycles adds: “We’ve piloted hosting organised bike ride events at our stores this year, with great success. The ‘RIDE IT’ routes start and finish at the store, and inside we host tea and coffees and give the riders a £5 voucher to spend after the ride. Over half of participants spend the voucher there and then, with a healthy average spend – showing the power that events like these have to bring people into our shops and the Evans Cycles community.
“The events are also helping us attract new audiences and build loyalty amongst our customers: nearly a third of attendees hadn’t been on an organised ride before, while 96 per cent say they would attend another event with us. In fact, the pilot has been so successful that we’re planning to double the number of stores hosting RIDE IT events next year.”
- UK retailers who are tapping into shopper demand for in-store events and experiences have seen annual turnover increase by an average of 14 per cent
- The booming ‘experience economy’ is leading retailers who are already investing in in-store events to make plans to double this investment over the next two years
- Retailers are seeing an average 10.5 per cent uplift in consumer spending on entertainment for 2017, driving this trend