At the Nationwide Marketing Group’s recent PrimeTime event, Holly Adorno, Bedgear’s director of player development, delivered a presentation about how the industry can look at retail through a different lens.
Taking a 30,000-foot view, she started by talking about New York City’s most visited tourist attraction, The High Line.
It was developed as a unique gathering place, and high-end retailers have moved into the area and offered distinct retail experiences that Adorno said we can learn from.
A few quick examples:
- Genesis House offers an interactive experience with beautiful merchandising. However, nothing is sold at the store. It’s simply there to offer an experience.
- Starbuck’s Reserve Roastery shows consumers how the coffee is made and processed. It also sells coffee for $10 over the average price, but people buy it because of the experience.
- Little Island is a defunct naval base turned community-themed tourist attraction, and it’s right behind The High Line in terms of popularity.
These are just a few of Adorno’s examples, but one thing many of them have in common is that they are free experiences meant to put the brand at the top of the consumer’s mind while also telling an interesting story.
“How do we translate all of this into our businesses?” Adorno asked. “Look to the next generation. The largest amount of money in history — $84 trillion — is about to be transferred to millennials and Gen Z. Think about how you can speak to that generation and get them in the front door.”
She explains that these generations want more out of everything. From “van life,” which sprouted out of the want to explore more places, to e-bikes making it easier to ride around cities, watches tell more than time and AI offering opportunities for increased efficiency, Adorno said retailers need to embrace this idea of more.
With that idea, she also said that consumers want things for free, so they only pay for things that are additive to a person’s life. For example, water is free to almost everyone in the U.S., but billions of dollars are spent each year on water bottles.
Other examples she covered include the rise of streaming services for both TV/movies and music — two things that started out as free and became paid services when people wanted more. This has become so extreme that Dyson is literally selling purified air through its Dyson Zone mask — which costs $1,000 and has a waiting list.
“Get comfortable where you’re uncomfortable,” Adorno said. “Ask yourself how you can be additive every day and not be a ghost of the past. Three things you can start today are opening your mind, taking a new perspective on the in-store experience and holding yourself accountable for what you do.”
She ended the presentation by talking about waterfall selling. She said while useful, it can be a point of fear for some retail sales associates. They can’t focus on the fear of losing the sale. Instead, they should focus on helping a person find the best sleep system for them.
She evoked the story of Roger Bannister, the first man to ever run a mile in under 4 minutes. Before him, no one had tried to do it, and therefore everyone thought it was impossible.
No one for thousands of years had recorded or even tried this feat but within a few years of Bannister coming in under 4 minutes, 20 other people did the same thing.
“We don’t know what we can achieve until we try,” she said.