In 2022, it's hard to imagine a person without an online shopping experience. From ordering groceries from the store next door to buying antiques with delivery from Venice, online users are enriching their shopping experience every day from the comfort of their homes. Along with that experience comes high expectations for shopping sites, and these expectations can be compared to those who gamble at National Casino and are eager to hit jackpots.
Until recently, the site was sufficient to offer a convenient search format and a sufficient number of filters for the selection of desired goods. Now these are basic requirements that almost everyone meets, and the modern shopper wants to be entertained, surprised and given new and unusual experiences.
Because of this, more e-commerce platforms are adopting entertaining shopping formats to maintain a competitive edge and generate sales. Here's how retail combines with entertainment and what types of retailtainment are especially popular.
How to Add Emotion to Shopping
Retailtainment was formed from two words: retail and entertainment. The word first appeared in the book Enchanting a Disenchanted World: Revolutionizing the Means of Consumption by American sociologist George Ritzer. The author himself understood this definition as "the use of atmosphere, emotion, sound and activity to interest customers and set them up for a purchase.
The essence of the concept is to make the buying experience unconventional, memorable and evoking positive feelings. This takes the purchase far beyond simply selecting and paying for items. High user involvement in the buying process not only increases sales, but also increases recognition and loyalty, causing customers to want to return.
A classic example of successful use of retailtainment is the Vans store in London. The store has its own movie theater, cafe, concert and exhibition halls, and a skateboarding ramp. Customers play sports, attend performances by musicians and simply socialize, which creates a fundamentally different shopping experience where the store is a place of relaxation and entertainment.
Retailtainment has become a lifesaving tool for many retailers who have fully or partially "migrated" from reality to the online space. Promotional actions in shopping centers were replaced by sales streams, and the augmented reality technologies allowed us to forget about what it was like to try on clothes.
Top 5 Entertaining Shopping Formats
Phygital is a format that combines features of the real and virtual worlds, allowing you to combine the best of digital and traditional sales. Phygital marketing integrates technology into the most common shopping experience, turning a trip to the store into an entire event.
One prime example of phygital's use is creating interactivity and game formats for visitors. That's what the Superdry brand did, introducing a "smart" mirror to customers. There is a screen right in the store, with the help of which the customer will immediately know how he will look in his new outfit.
Shopping in Virtual and Augmented Reality
Virtual and augmented reality is closely related to the concept of phygital. Some brands have already succeeded in using virtual reality glasses. 6 years ago, Coca-Cola delighted children and adults with the opportunity to ride in Santa's sleigh at the Christmas fair. Today, you don't even have to leave home to have a VR or AR shopping experience.
While in-store augmented reality technology often performs an entertainment function, on the brand's website it helps the customer make a choice when it's not possible to try on the product. This applies not only to clothes but also to appliances and even furniture. Thanks to AR, the customer can find out whether the new sofa will fit his or her interior and whether the new refrigerator will fit in the kitchen.
VR technology has even greater potential in sales, maximizing engagement. One of the earliest and most emotional examples is the TOMS campaign. For every pair of sneakers purchased, the brand gave a pair of shoes to children in need in Peru. Using virtual reality, customers were "taken" on a journey to a faraway country, where they would work with company representatives to give the children their first ever pair of sneakers.
Voice assistants are often associated with the ability to find something in a search engine without having to enter a query manually, as well as with the funny dialogues that these assistants are able to have with each other. according to AiThority, by 2023 60% of voice assistants owners will use them to make purchases.
You can't call this figure surprising, because voice shopping has at least three advantages:
- Ease of use.
- 24-hour availability.
By launching a voice assistant, the company finds a way not only to be constantly in touch with the customer, but also to study their interests and preferences. The data collected by the assistant about the customer helps to form a personalized offer in the future.
In the mid-twenties popularity in social networks gained the so-called group buying - the organization of collective purchase of goods at wholesale prices. Initially such groups were created solely for the purpose of making the purchase more profitable, but as a result, they helped many users to find like-minded people.
Approximately the same functions are performed today by the Chinese platform Pinduoduo. Vendors offer their goods at two different prices: individual and group. In order to buy what they want at a lower price, users unite in groups, in which the number of buyers is often measured in triple digits. This mechanic mostly attracts people from small towns and villages: they are less brand-conscious, and Pinduoduo's focus on inexpensive clothes and products allowed the platform to meet the basic demand of such buyers - practicality at an affordable price.
It's hard to surprise anyone with promotional integrations into the live broadcasts of popular streamers. Usually bloggers talk about products while playing games, post banners on their channels, or even use a brand's products while streaming, like playing a game on a new laptop and talking about the perks. Viewers watch the process and share their impressions, including about the brand featured, in real time.
This format is entertaining in itself, but China has gone even further. Here they launched live commerce - direct advertising broadcasts in the course of which the blogger sells something. Streamer Lipstick King's broadcast had a resounding success, thanks to its artistry in October this year, the online store Taobao in 12 hours bought goods worth $ 1.7 billion.