Sales Video

5 Ways to Maximize the In-Store Retail Experience

If you’re privileged enough to own a retail brick-and-mortar store, you’re probably wondering about all the different ways you can really capture the in-store retail experience and relay branding. Aside from general staging techniques, meaning the furniture or how you’re merchandising your fashion boutique, there are five different key elements that really come into play to maximize that in-store retail experience…

1. Lighting

Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a Nordstrom, there’s a very different lighting experience than when you take a look at merchandise at Macy’s or Walmart? There are different kinds of lighting settings that will actually give customers a much better opportunity to get that psychological experience associated with your brand. Dimmer lighting is often associated with luxury products. The bright lighting when you walk into a Walmart is really intended for you to quickly purchase products and leave; they want you to get through those aisles and add as much as possible. 

Take a look at your lighting choices, even when it comes your pop-ups. Change out those light bulbs and take the extra necessary steps to create the right type of lighting for your fashion boutique.

2. Scent 

Scent plays a very big role in the in-store retail experience because of its powerful psychological associations. When we take a look at what kinds of fragrances are present in your store, it’s not just the candle you have burning at the POS station, but also the kinds of scents coming out of your store. I’m not suggesting that any fashion retailers start to become like Auntie Annie’s and start pumping out sugar and cinnamon into the streets, or even Bath & Body Works with what can honestly sometimes be a nauseating scent. They’re examples of what not to do. 

However, when you think about considerations such as the light smell of a very nice candle, pumping scents like tobacco and leather and the scent of grass into the air, they’ll help people feel grounded and more connected. They’ll entice shoppers to spend more time perusing your collections because they’re really enjoying the experience. 

3. Music

We’ve been in the pop-up shop and fashion boutique where people are just using free Spotify and ads suddenly start to come on. If you’re going to spend the time and money to open a store, be sure to invest in the right music channels. In that same vein, keep your personal tastes and preferences aside, unless you know your tastes in music are also what your customers are interested in and also on-brand. The in-store retail experience isn’t just about how you feel, it’s about how you want your customers to feel.

4. Acts of Generosity 

Along with merchandising, it’s important to look at ways of getting people to come back into your store over and over again. Whether or not you have new collections dropping seasonally or new product arriving every month, it’s important to go above and beyond the traditional offer of subscribing to your newsletter for 10% off. It’s important to have really great activations to keep shoppers coming back. 

We love the French brand ba&sh- they’ve done an amazing job with customer acquisitions in their NYC stores. They don’t just host pop-ups or events where they’re serving alcohol and cheese to get people interested in shopping; they offer French classes and free services. They also recently introduced a VIP program allowing select customers to take home product on Fridays to wear over the weekend. Ba&sh dry cleans those products and takes them back for free. 

When you think about why your fashion boutique is so valuable to your brand, it’s not simply because customers can try products on, it’s because they have the opportunity to feel and experience your brand in such an intimate way. Anything you can do to get them into the store, to experience your brand, to communicate with you during the experience, and to create a relationship that isn’t just about the transactional aspect of shopping, will put you in a great position to be able to create a brand connection- and ultimately drive sales and profitability while increasing customer lifetime value.

How can you give back to your customers while incorporating the feelings and emotional connections associated with your brand that will get them to buy over and over again?

5. Marketing Assets 

Recently, in the last year and a half or so, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands open up pop-up shops and flagship locations. They’ve implemented a very interesting marketing strategy worthy of discussion: catalog mailers. Catalog mailers are wonderful because you can use them for hyper-targeted advertising, targeting a specific zip code or geographic region, in addition to testing with coupon codes. For example, you can invite recipients to visit your store with a coupon or mention it for 10-20% or even a free gift with purchase.

They’re great for building in-store traffic. They may cost more, but the ROI on catalog mailers is really quite high at this time- and they stick around longer than digital advertisements. It’s also important to remember that the cost is higher right now simply because they’re not being taken up by many businesses. Use them to gather customer data and to get customers to become a part of your tribe. Take advantage of this niche opportunity before it becomes a super mainstream marketing strategy again. 

Interested in learning more? Check out our article on brick-and-mortar staging, a how-to guide with our tips and tricks on the best ways to merchandise your store for success. Also be sure to get your free download on using lighting to elevate the in-store retail experience and boost sales.

If you’d like to set up an appointment to hear more about what our agency can do for your fashion boutique or lifestyle retail store, send us an email at