Making Retail Experiential for Valentine’s Day
When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of gifts. From diamond rings to flowers, boxes of chocolates to stuffed animals, gifts are still flying off of shelves around Valentine’s Day. But as the spending power of Generation Z and Millennials continues to grow, these gifts are beginning to change. Some younger consumers are giving gifts to their pets, such as pillows and heart-shaped treats. Some are indulging themselves with the gift of self-care, giving themselves lotions and face masks from retailers like Ulta, Estée Lauder, and Sephora.
One significant change is the number of younger consumers who plan to give gifts that revolve around an “experience.” This could be something as simple as cooking dinner at home for a spouse or a fiancée, or something more extravagant such as tickets to a basketball game and a night on the town. Experiential gifts are making a greater impact on the retail industry. Some retailers are offering cooking classes or beauty makeovers, experiences that aren’t only different and exciting, but are also sharable on Snapchat and Instagram. Some younger consumers are buying materials to make DIY gifts, heading to hardware or crafts retailers to gather supplies.
With 4 in 10 younger consumers (ages 18-24) planning to give a gift of experience for Valentine’s Day, retailers need to be ready to capitalize on the growing trend. How can this be done?
The Difficulty of Creating Experiential Retail
Nobody wants to take a cooking class if the store it’s held at is disorganized, and nobody wants to buy supplies for a DIY gift if shelves are empty or messy.
In order for retailers to capitalize on this trend of giving gifts of experience, stores need their shelves to be stocked and products to be neatly organized. They also need enough store associates on the schedule to help capitalize on the surge of traffic, selling them the blenders they used during their cooking classes or the ribbon they need to finish decorating their photo collage.
This isn’t an easy task, as predicting customer traffic is incredibly complicated and keeping track of stock-outs requires time that many store managers and associates simply don’t have. Visibility into issues a store might be facing is also low without a way to assess store and labor operations in real time. So how can retailers not only implement experiential retail concepts, but also capitalize on the increased traffic that they bring?
Creating Valentine’s Day Experiences for Retail Customers
Helping customers get the most out of their Valentine’s Day gifts of experience is as simple as having the right tools. Real-time store operations solutions simplify work for stores around the holidays, providing retailers with 360-degree visibility into their task(s) management and allowing them to optimize their labor schedules.
With a task management solution, managers can ensure that store operations are running smoothly around Valentine’s Day. Alerts can be issued to store associates when an item is out-of-stock, creating a task and prompting them to re-stock shelves. This way, when customers finish or take breaks during their cooking classes or beauty makeovers, shelves are completely stocked, making it easy for them to find the products they would like to purchase. This improves the customer experience by simplifying the browsing process and making the store aesthetically pleasing.
In addition, workforce management solutions can optimize labor schedules, ensuring that there are the right number of associates on the sales floor to help customers and quickly solve any issues in the store. When cooking classes or beauty makeovers are scheduled, especially around a holiday where there is already heightened traffic, predictive scheduling is necessary to accurately understand how much labor is needed to keep shelves stocked and service customers while complying with local labor laws. This guarantees that customers get exactly what they want after their cooking class or beauty makeover, whether it’s the pan they used to make the perfect stir fry or the lipstick they used to complete the perfect look.
Experiential retail will play a large role in the future of retail, as younger consumers are increasingly looking for new and exciting experiences. With real-time store operations solutions, retailers can capitalize on the trend of experiential retail, increasing sales and ensuring an excellent customer experience.