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Creating Customer Moments

by Ryan Joy — August 5, 2010

So much has been said about experience in retail, that sometimes it seems like a tired, commonplace idea. And yet, when we look around the marketplace, virtually no one is actually implementing a true experiential approach. Experience is the art of creating moments. It is about empathy, thinking creatively from the customer’s point of view to design a better shopping trip, a special eating experience, and an intimate relationship with your customer. So what does an experience-focused store look like?

Instead of just working on customer complaints, experience-focused stores work to remove sacrifices customers have come to accept, like standing in line at the check out or walking down long, lifeless aisles in the center store.

Instead of regarding events merely as selling opportunities, an experience-focused store stages celebrations of food and community that are anticipated, enjoyed, and remembered.

Instead of being satisfied with orderly planograms and stocked shelves, an experience-focused store merchandises to immerse the senses in memorable ways.

Instead of narrowly defining product categories, like “general merchandise” and “canned goods”, an experience-focused store thinks of product categories from a customer’s experience, like their “morning grooming rituals” or “quick lunch in the breakroom at work”.

Instead of viewing customers solely as rational decision makers, an experience-focused store understands the customer as social, emotional, irrational and rational creatures, seeking to connect, be challenged, entertained, emotionally affected, taught, and stimulated.

Instead of competing only with supermarkets with a similar store format, an experience-focused store aims to compete with a broader spectrum of businesses across lifestyle activities such as “eating,” “shopping,” “entertainment,” and “hanging out.”

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