Nov 17th, 2019, 03:37 PM

Shoppers Want Experiences, Not Just Products

By Liza Cameron
House of Vans London. Photo Credit: Instagram/@houseofvans
The House of Vans London. Photo Credit: Instagram/@houseofvans
This holiday season, consumers are looking to experiential shopping over classic ways of buying

Experiential shopping is the future of commerce. Simply selling the right thing for the right price doesn’t cut it for millennial shoppers anymore who, according to Forbes Magazine, find that in-person, experiential interactions help them to “get to know the brand, what it stands for, and the people behind it.” As knowing the brand behind a product becomes increasingly important to consumers, experiences are becoming more and more expected. 

With the holidays just around the corner, stores need to add a unique experience for shoppers to set them apart from the millions of online and in-person options. The business software company erply, says that “there will always be room for brick-and-mortar retail if store owners are willing to go above and beyond.” Now is the time for stores to take advantage of what sets them apart. 

When a shopper goes into a store, they will leave the same day with an item, and this is the first thing a brick and mortar store should emphasize. Instant gratification is a cornerstone of today’s culture with so many things at the fingertips of consumers with one click. Brick and mortar stores should bring attention to the fact that the shopper won’t have to wait for back-ordered or lost items coming in the mail. Instead, that person can leave with the item they want seconds after swiping their credit card. 

This instant gratification is one way that erply says brick and mortar stores have the upper hand during the next few months because “consumers don’t want to wait for slow holiday-season shipping for gifts that they need right away for parties.” The instant gratification is complemented by millennial shoppers emphasizing the need for branding experiences. According to Storefront Magazine, millennials said that the majority of their holiday spending would go on experience-related purchases. So, if a brand is planning to launch an in-person experience, this is the season to do it. 

More so, it’s essential to make the distinction between merely buying and shopping. Research from Michigan State University says that people need to “understand the difference between shopping, which is very experiential, and simply buying, which is not.” Many brands have taken this idea of experimental shopping and run with the creativity it can allow. Experiences at stores have the opportunity for further brand loyalty and recognition, according to Forbes Magazine

The House of Vans in London and New York is a perfect example of how a company can transform their space into an experience that is memorable and on-brand. According to the House of Vans website, “it’s a place where imagination lets loose over concrete bowls, art installations, workshops, and concert stages, inspiring every person who runs, rolls, or stomps through its door.” By implementing this experience, Vans is reaching its audience of young people in a creative way that sets them apart from the competition. The experience goes far beyond shopping and in their own words, inspires customers, leaving a lasting impression after they leave the site. 



Take a minute in the dressing room to pretend you’re already guesting at a wedding. @allegrashaw

A post shared by Reformation (@reformation) on

Vans isn’t the only brand implementing personality and experiences into their physical locations. The sustainable clothing company, Reformation, also has an experimental store along with Farfetch, Ikea, Amazon Go, and more. 

So, is it worth it for the brand to spend money on these experiences? Absolutely. A recent Forbes article indicates that 93% of consumers say that in-person experiences have a significant impact on them. In a time when gaining the attention of consumers is exceptionally challenging, brands can stand out with experiential shopping. 

Want to see these experiences for yourself? Visit Syte for some examples close to home.