UK retailers tap into ‘experience economy’ boom, Barclaycard

  UK retailers tap into ‘experience economy’ boom, Barclaycard

British consumers no longer see the High Street as just somewhere to make a purchase, opting instead to ‘shop and stay’ at retailers that offer engaging and entertaining experiences. According to Barclaycard research, those who are tapping into the growth of the “experience economy” by hosting events and providing entertainment in their physical stores have seen annual turnover increase by an average of 14%.

Online interviews were carried out by Opinium Research with 251 senior decision-makers in retail with an in-store presence, and with 2,002 consumers. 36% of the former now host events in-store, such as classes, courses and exclusive sales previews, with 19% planning to start doing so in the next three years. Decision makers are looking to increase investment in this area by a further 113% over the next 24 months. To accommodate this, retailers intend to significantly reduce the amount they are investing in other business priorities, such as revamping their store layout (which they plan to decrease by 51%), increasing the variety and amount of stock (41%), or improving their website layout (33%).

18 to 24 year olds are more than twice as likely as the national average to want their favourite shops to offer in-store celebrity meet-and greets, fitness events (such as yoga classes) and education courses (such as language classes). In fact, one in six report that having in-store events after hours would encourage them to choose one retailer over another.

George Allardice, Head of Strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions, says: “Retailers who take advantage of the opportunities in the experience economy can really reap the rewards.  Our research has found that shoppers increasingly want to stay in stores for longer, rather than head home with their purchases. With consumer spending on entertainment and experiences increasing by 10.5% this year, there are opportunities across the board for shops of all shapes and sizes to capitalise on this and draw shoppers in with engaging experiences. Those who are already doing so are already seeing the benefits and it’s little wonder that these savvy retailers are planning to increase their investment in their in-store experiences over the next two years.”

James Backhouse, Marketing Director, Evans Cycles, adds: “We’ve piloted hosting organised bike ride events at our stores this year, with great success. The ‘RIDE IT’ routes start and finish at the store, and inside we host tea and coffees and give the riders a £5 voucher to spend after the ride. Over half of participants spend the voucher there and then, with a healthy average spend – showing the power that events like these have to bring people into our shops and the Evans Cycles community. The events are also helping us attract new audiences and build loyalty amongst our customers: nearly a third of attendees hadn’t been on an organised ride before, while 96% say they would attend another event with us. In fact, the pilot has been so successful that we’re planning to double the number of stores hosting RIDE IT events next year.”

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