In today’s competitive retail market, businesses having something a little extra quickly rise above the others. Providing in-store experiences that go beyond simply selling products can drive more traffic to your establishment. It can also keep clients entertained in your store longer and coming back. These kinds of in-store experiences are often referred to as retailtainment — a combination of the words retail and entertainment.

Retailtainment concepts run the gamut of the simple to the extreme, but all retailtainment strategies can benefit both your business and your customers. Consider this your guide to the new trends in retailtainment, as we explore this concept further and provide ideas for enhancing the shopping experience for your establishment.

What Is Retailtainment?

As the name suggests, retailtainment is the coming together of both retail and entertainment. The main idea behind this concept is to create a customer experience that is enticing and enriching, and goes beyond the simple transactional shopping experiences. It provides fun for customers and elevates the whole shopping experience to something a little extra.

Back in 1999, American Sociologist, George Ritzer, came up with the term retailtainment in a book on the topic, defining it as “the use of sound, ambiance, emotion and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in the mood to buy.” This makes retailtainment essentially a form of marketing to consumers. The concept allows a store to promote a unique experience other stores or online shopping don’t offer. This marketing strategy has proven successful in driving traffic and increasing overall sales.

More consumers are shopping online, but in-store shopping is still thriving. Though with so many choices available, and smarter consumers doing online research before shopping in person, the competition is even more fierce. Retail establishments must find ways to distinguish themselves from the competition, and providing avenues of retailtainment, is a great way for this to be accomplished.

There’s a wide range of ways to use retailtainment, from the very simple to the very elaborate. It could mean something as small as having a coloring table stocked with paper and crayons for kids to stay entertained while parents shop. Alternatively, it can also be more complex like special holiday events, in-store cafés, added technology like online ordering kiosks or virtual reality devices, indoor playground equipment and much more.

Studies show today’s consumers prefer to spend their money on experiences more than on belongings. The happiness people get from buying things is fleeting, but entertainment can create long-lasting memories. Stores can use this concept to their advantage through the use of retailtainment ideas. These added entertainment experiences attract more customers to the store and can help get them more in the mood to make a purchase once they are there.

Retailtainment definition

Who Can Benefit From Retailtainment?

Retailtainment is not only for creating fun memories. Retailtainment can also benefit the consumer in other ways. For example, some forms of retailtainment offer convenience to consumers. A café located inside of a store can allow a customer to combine errands, grabbing their coffee, or buying lunch at the same time as shopping. Stores could also offer:

  • Phone charging stations;
  • Scanning technology to create registries and make wishlist shopping easier; and
  • Touch-screen kiosks for ordering items not available in that store location.

All of these examples provide convenience for the consumer, making their shopping trip easier. With these benefits in mind, customers may be more likely to come back and shop again.

Busy parents can also realize a great benefit from retailtainment. Store experiences entertain kids, keep them occupied, and can help parents get their shopping done easier and quicker. In-store entertainment for kids, like an indoor playground area, makes kids excited to visit and can make families want to keep coming back.

Beyond just convenience, some forms of retailtainment can also be educational or provide additional services for customers. Stores could offer in-store repairs or have a help desk where customers can ask questions about their products. Another form of this is in-store classes and events. Providing classes can both educate the customer, and promote the store’s products. Other examples of entertaining in a retail environment include, painting classes at a craft supply store, photography lessons from a store selling cameras and smartphones or cooking classes at a grocery store are all including in the retailtainment strategy.

Retailtainment is not just a benefit to those consumers coming to the store. It is also a huge boon for the retail establishments using it. Successful use of retailtainment will draw customers into a shop for the experience, and keep them entertained and satisfied once they’re there. This puts customers in a mood to shop and can encourage them to come back again. All of this can lead to increased sales for stores that utilize retailtainment tactics. Retailtainment provides added value to the consumer and increases the store’s bottom line. It’s easy to see that the benefits of retailtainment are numerous, for both the consumer and the retailer.

Why Should You Include Retailtainment in Your Store?

In today’s competitive retail market, brick and mortar stores must differentiate themselves from the competition, as well as be able to compete with the increase in online shopping. Providing retailtainment opportunities gives customers more reason to walk through your doors — and spend money with you. You’ll become more than just a place to buy things. You’ll be a destination for a fun and entertaining shopping experience.

Here’s a breakdown of how retailtainment can benefit your business:

  • Attracts more customers. Through advertising and word-of-mouth, adding in retailtainment experiences can entice more people to stop in and check out the experience for themselves. The more memorable the experiences you offer, the more customers will want to come in to try it out. Those customers coming for just the entertainment might even make a purchase while they play, turning them into new customers.
  • Distinguishes you from the competition. To stand out in this competitive retail environment, it’s the experiences that will make all the difference. Providing interesting and enjoyable experiences will elevate your store above your competitors and give you an edge over the online shops as well.
  • Encourages shoppers to stay longer. With more fun and interesting things to do in your store, customers will likely spend longer amounts of time lingering in your shop. And the longer they stay in your store, the more opportunities you have to sell them more of your products.
  • Promotes brand loyalty. The most successful retailtainment experiences turn customers into fans and even ambassadors of your brand, coming back for more and promoting your brand to others.

You know that retailtainment benefits stores, but how can you improve your store experience? As with any marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to first understand your customer base and what their wants and needs are. When you know what your customers are looking for, you can come up with creative ideas that will enhance your store and entice and entertain your customers. Think about what would benefit your target customer base.

When you’re deciding on a retailtainment strategy, consider your own shop style and product line. Consider store activities and experiences making sense with your brand strategy and the products you offer. For example, a store selling grocery items could consider adding a coffee shop or café to encourage customers to linger longer. Additionally, demonstration areas and cooking classes can entertain as well as showcase select products the store wants to promote. As another example, a sports equipment store could provide areas to try out equipment and play a round of the featured game, or have events with local sports stars.

What Are Some Retailtainment Strategies?

While the term retailtainment covers a wide variety of ideas and experiences, there are some simple strategies any business can implement affordably. To come up with the right retailtainment strategy for your store, think about how you can improve your customers’ shopping experience. Each store is different, and customizing the experience for your customers will keep them coming back.

How do you create a great experience in store for your customers? Think of all the little things you could do in your store to wow your customers, and you’ll be on the right track to coming up with your own retailtainment strategies.

Examples of Retailtainment

Retailtainment strategies don’t have to be extravagant or expensive to implement. There are lots of easy and affordable ways to enhance your customers’ experiences. Check out these examples for some quick and easy ideas:

1. Provide Refreshments

Just about any retail experience can be enhanced with the addition of food and drinks. Simply offering coffee, tea or sparkling water to customers at any type of business can provide them with needed refreshment. It can also entice them to stay longer and get in the mood to buy more. You can go beyond this by offering food samples or demonstrations if you sell any food products or cookware, or by providing a snack tying in with your product line.

If your business includes entertainment systems or movies, consider offering popcorn and candy, a place to sit and relax to enjoy the full experience. For a sports-related business, try sampling sports drinks and protein bars. A salon or spa could offer relaxing tea. Just be sure not to serve anything too messy — you don’t want crumbs or greasy fingerprints all over your store and merchandise.

2. Make Your Employees Experts

Provide lots of educational opportunities and product knowledge to store employees. When your employees are experts on your products, and love your products, their enthusiasm will show. They will naturally be better salespeople and an advocate for the brand. Consider changing employee titles — for example, instead of salesperson, try “consultant” or “even product expert.” This will give your employees more confidence, as well as your customers. More knowledgeable employees can better guide customers through the store to find exactly what they need.

3. Hold Classes and Demonstrations

Have areas in your store to demonstrate your products and give customers hands-on experiences or small samples of product. Take it one step further and offer classes related to your product line. Bring in a local expert, and host a class or series of classes right in your store.

This idea works particularly well for subject areas like arts & crafts, photography, techie topics, cooking, food and wine, but the sky’s the limit here. Choose a topic that makes sense for your business to provide added value for your customers. Let them leave your store confident in how to use your product and assured they made the proper investment.

4. Make Instagram-Worthy Displays

Pictures are powerful experiences. Instagram is the new word-of-mouth advertising, and if you have something worthy of sharing, you’ll elevate your customer experience and gain tons of free advertising. Consider adding bright colors, murals or eye-catching displays. Sit back and watch your customers become the best sales team in their social circles.

Find ways to make your products and your store’s atmosphere more eye-catching and enticing to consumers, and they will respond with more visits to your store and more social media shares.

5. Provide something for the Kids

Make your store family-friendly and create experiences the whole family can enjoy. Adding a coloring area or a collection of kids’ books and toys, or even a kids’ play area can really enhance the shopping experience for the family. Play areas can be enhanced by adding a theme specially designed and related to your store or local area.

With any of these strategies in place, you can enhance your store experience and drive more sales to your business. Of course, there are more extreme and technologically advanced ways to implement retailtainment in your store, but these examples provide some easy ideas to improve your store experience for customers.

Retailtainment advantages

Soft Play Can Provide a Family Retailtainment Experience

To create the ultimate shopping experience for families in your store or retail center, adding an indoor playground can be the perfect solution. Soft Play provides safe, contained play structures in all shapes and sizes, and for kids of all ages. Any type or size of store or retail center can benefit from a kids’ play area, and the play structure can be customized to fit in anywhere.

As a leader in playground products, Soft Play can custom design anything from small playgrounds and toddler play areas to larger attractions, adventure experiences and themed playgrounds. Going beyond simple playground equipment, Soft Play has a wide variety of extras to take your kids’ area to the next level, including musical and imaginative play equipment, as well as fully interactive playground activities.

One of the fun and unique offerings from Soft Play is Stomp — a fully interactive experience the whole family can enjoy. Stomp players compete in a friendly challenge to race to the top by stomping, running and jumping. This fun game is something even the adults can get in on, and kids of all ages will love it. Stomp can be an excellent addition to any business, whether you already have a kids’ area or are just starting to improve your store experience with retailtainment opportunities.

Let Soft Play take your retail venue to the next level with Stomp, or any of our other fun play area ideas. Contact our playground design experts for a free consultation and to request a quote to add this fun retailtainment experience to your venue. Our creative solutions can increase foot traffic to your establishment and help you create memorable experiences for your customers.

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