ACROSS | The European Retail Real Estate Magazine

Opinion

Retail Events – Raising the Game

Alison Bowcott-McGrath, Managing Director at Maynineteen. Image: Maynineteen

Consumers have the technological freedom to shop whenever and wherever they want, and brands are expected to work much harder than ever before to maintain their loyalty.

By Alison Bowcott-McGrath

Retailers are having to adapt quickly to stay ahead, and the same is true for shopping centers. 98% of consumers say they’re more likely to make a purchase after experiencing it at a live retail event.

This is because for many consumers, it’s still important to be able to touch and feel products before making their final purchase decision. Experiential events offer innovative ways to create a bond between brands and consumers.

Social media influencers have made a recognisable impact on retail sales, and entered the marketing vernacular. The strategy of influencer marketing is evolving. Sophisticated online engagement data from influencer content is being combined with offline purchase information to improve strategies through a better understanding of what motivates shoppers.

As event planners and producers, it’s our job at Maynineteen to deliver exciting and memorable moments that offer consumers a shared experience, and connects them to physical retail space in a positive way. By stirring emotions in people, we encourage brand loyalty by association. If people feel personally connected to a shopping center, they will keep coming back for more, which is something that online retailers simply can’t match!

The current trend across Europe and the rest of the globe is technology. We’re interested in combining online and offline elements into all of our events. Influencers play a part, but more recently our focus has been on having the consumer create the brand content through their own experience.

For example; our Social Butterfly event provided the young female target demographic of a shopping center in Manchester with the tools and accessories to create perfect posts for social media sharing under a unique event hashtag. The more likes and shares their content received, the higher our Social Butterflies climbed up the leaderboard. The results were shown in real time on a physical digital screen we installed at the mall. Software pulled the social media profile pictures of players into the display for everyone to keep tabs on their position in the race to reach the top. At the end of the event, the top three Social Butterflies were rewarded with thousands of pounds worth of shopping vouchers and luxury gifts. The content received more than 150,000 Instagram likes over two days.

Brands want to interact with consumers in a way that goes beyond the typical transactional relationship. Consumers want the opportunity to create their own brand stories through the content they share. Experiential retail events are a great way to deliver both, and a positive interaction with knowledgeable brand associates is much more likely to result in a purchase.

 


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