A customer just made a purchase at your store. She conducted her research online, knew exactly what she wanted, and left with what she came for. This appears to be a perfectly successful transaction.
But, where is this relationship going?
1 in 3 customers look to retailers to educate them to varying degrees
Online shopping options are abundant, so a fast and convenient purchase is no longer enough to keep customers coming back. In order to gain customer loyalty in 2016, retailers need to think beyond the “right product, right price” approach. Sustaining a lasting customer-brand relationship now depends on a unique experience, engaging human interaction, and authentic, meaningful connection.
In response, we’re seeing more and more brands offering workshops and educational opportunities to entice customers and strengthen their brand appeal. According to Small Business Trends, “Nearly one-third (32 percent) of consumers are interested in going to classes or lessons at stores.”
For today’s customers who are constantly connected to digital devices, in-store classes give them a fun, participatory and personalized experience they can’t get online. Here are some retailers using classes to drive traffic to stores, create a welcoming environment, and strengthen shopping appeal.
DIY at Home Depot
Home Depot offers free Do It Yourself workshops, from building to gardening. They even offer kid-friendly tutorials and women’s-only “Do-It-Herself” workshops.
Practice Yoga at Lululemon
Lululemon, the popular yoga and lifestyle clothing retailer, hosts free weekly yoga classes in its stores. Classes are led by certified instructors from the local communities.
Get Outdoors with REI
The outdoor company REI offers both free and fee-based classes for all adventure experience levels, from outdoor photography skills to rock climbing, from backpacking to using a map & compass.
Have an Eye for Beauty at Sephora
Sephora customers can learn about the latest makeup trends, brow shaping techniques, skin fundamentals and more in its beauty and skin care classes. The classes are available nationwide and free to Sephora loyalty rewards members
Start Cooking with Williams-Sonoma
Williams-Sonoma, the premium cooking products retailer, holds complimentary hands-on cooking classes in its stores across the U.S. and Canada. Those who participate also enjoy discounts on store purchases.
Stay Connected at The Apple Store
Apple retail stores provide free hour-long workshops that teach everything from how to use a new device to creating presentations and movies. They even offer youth programs and camps.
By turning their retail spaces into learning platforms, brands not only demonstrate a need for their products, but they also enrich their customers’ everyday lives, create meaningful connections, and drive future visits and repeat purchases.
Retail environments are now much more than places to buy things. Customers care more about experiences than they do about acquiring merchandise. Brands should recognize that the customer’s loyalty depends on the full retail journey. The customer’s desire to return to the store is much greater when the experience is continually fresh, stimulating, interactive, authentic and meaningful.