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The Experience – Experiential Purchasing

We have talked a lot this year in the importance of the Experience in the consumer markets industry.  In one of 2015’s top trends, we discussed how important different aspects of the experience influence the consumer.  Experiential marketing has allowed consumers to interact with brands, products and retailers in a unique experience intending to drive them to purchase at that time or in the future.
Studies have shown that people get more enjoyment and satisfaction from experiential purchases vs material purchases. When consumers buy an experience, they associate it with identity, social behavior and a connection (a lot more so than a material purchase).  But what if you combined them both?  Experiential purchasing has retailers finding ways, additional to actual selling, to get consumers to experience things besides buying. This gives the retailer the chance to make a big impression with creating a memorable and exciting shopping experience that also influences the consumer to buy the experience vs just the actual product or service. Here are a few examples of successful retailers that are already executing experiential purchasing:

  • Lululemon – this chain not only offers high-end athletic wear but offers yoga classes in their stores, serving as a one-stop shop for clothing & classes
  • REI – a major player in the outdoor retail industry, besides offering equipment and apparel, REI offers educational classes and programs that help teach their customers about outdoor activities (hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, etc)
  • Grocers/retailers (Whole Foods/William Sonoma) – regional and national chains aren’t necessarily just places to buy food or cookware but offer cooking classes and demos that a consumer can participate in
  • Macy’s – retailer partnered with Nike to offer fitness classes (Nike Training Club) in their flagship store in NYC and are looking to expand to other retail locations as well.

So as we can see, leading retailers are utilizing the importance the experience and incorporating into their strategies.  Other retailers are creating other types of experiences such as virtual fitting rooms and augmented reality.  Will other retailers implement the experience? home page image by Lev Radin /

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Heather Bowman

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