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The Art of Selling Experiences


The Art of Selling Experiences

As we’ve touched on at the Retail Innovation Hub before, the ‘Experience Economy’ isn’t going anywhere and we are continuing to monitor its impact on the way retailers are shaping their business around it.

Over the past few years, people have cut back on buying an expensive pair of designer sunglasses favouring a pair of front row tickets to a sell out show instead. With the prevalence of social media, today’s customers have been conditioned to seek experiences.

Personal-consumption expenditures on experience-related services have grown more than 1.5 times faster than overall personal-consumption spending and nearly 4 times faster than expenditures on goods.

But what is interesting for retailers is defining exactly what constitutes an experience. While buying a suit is the product, and having it altered is a service, it’s wearing it to the party that makes it an experience.

Retails are incorporating the ‘E’ word in all sorts of ways – interactive marketing campaigns, in-store activities and loyalty rewards. Whilst it can be difficult to pin down exactly where and how to make that experiential connection, we’re sure putting it at the heart of the offer, over and above any product, will only drawer customers closer.  Here we take a look at 3 businesses who are exciting us with the experiences they sell:

Museum of Ice Cream, San Francisco

It’s not quite a museum, it’s not quite a shop – it sits cooly in between as an immersive tasting experience. In the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square, guests enter a realm where anything is possible. From unicorns, to cookie carousels, to swimming in pools of rainbow sprinkles, guests journey through 10 installations designed to give dreams a chance, let your inner child out, meet a stranger, engage with guides and activities, and leave your worries outside.

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The School of Life, London

The School of Life shops are simply designed spaces selling beautifully packaged books, homeware and  games titled with philosophical questions such as ‘What should I do with my life?’, ‘Stay or leave’ or ‘Who should I be with?’. But behind the shelves of intriguing products there are schools offering a range of experiences designed to develop the emotional intelligence in people. Offering talks and sessions from psychotherapy to couple counseling, the philosophy is that  consulting a psychotherapist should be as accessible and as normal as getting a haircut or going to the dentist.

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Mimo, San Sebastián

In the food capital of the world, the Mimo team know how to sell an experience based on what San Sebastian does best. Offering culinary tours, gourmet shops and a luxury cooking school located in a 5 star hotel, it is the ultimate blend of retail and experience for the foodie traveller. You’ll find a close knit team of knowledgeable locals passionate about sharing their culture; from trips to the farmers market, sharing Michelin star secrets and Pintxos cooking classes, their success in delivering experience means they have now expanded their offer to Sevilla and Mallorca.

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