73% of Gen Z and Millennials rate experiences over products

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The majority of young adults in the UK prefer the experiential part of shopping over buying physical products, says new research by Savvy.

The research polled 1,000 UK consumers to understand the customers’ preferences when it comes to shopping in physical stores.

Some 73% of Gen Z and Millennials (18-34 year-olds) rate in-store experiences such as events or engaging activities over the possibility of seeing and touching their desired item in-store.

Experiential retail builds loyalty

According to the report, the last 12 months saw 57% of UK consumers engaging in experiential activity, with younger people getting involved more deeply and in a broader range of events.

In-store experiences can strengthen loyalty as they create a ‘human’ element in the seller-customer relationship. Some 60% of the polled consumers said they feel more loyal to brands that they can interact with.

What kind of activities do customers want?

The researchers says that sales incentives are the most demanded. The majority (82%) of the respondents mentioned “money off purchase,” with 75% cited the idea of entering a free prize draw, and 70% stated “entering a competition.”

Personalised experiential events

Personalisation is popular with consumers and is especially suitable for experiential events – in large part because personalised messages and gifts can be created at the event itself allowing immediate gratification for the visitors.

Some 73% of respondents in the research said they found “a personalised gift” appealing. Certain features are more appealing among younger consumers, particularly those experiences that are more physically engaging. Make-overs, virtual reality and playing competitive games all significantly over-indexed among Gen Z and they welcome more innovative activities that they can share on social media.

This news presents an opportunity for marketplace merchants who own a physical store. Experiential marketing can help sellers cut through the noise and competition on marketplaces by raising brand awareness off the online-field. It also allows them to advertise to love, foster loyalty, create social media buzz and establish longer-term emotional connections with target audiences.

However, it is vital to underpin a campaign, from initial planning through implementation and evaluation, with solid insight. Sellers need to align their experiential strategy with their target audience. A well-planned social strategy is a key to drive footfall to events, to share content at the event and to maintain a conversation after it’s taken place.

Measurement is the final cornerstone for success – due to the temporary and live nature of the experiential activity. It is essential to collect data during the event itself and use it strategically to create future engaging experiences.


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