Shoptalk: Experiential Storytelling

March 8, 2019

The “talk” at Shoptalk was about customer-centric experiences and storytelling. Dozens of high-profile speakers from leading brands, combined with a bustling conference floor and more than 8,000 attendees networking in The Venetian in Las Vegas for four days, made for an annual event retailers could not miss. Ketchum will be back.

Shoptalk experiential retail

The experiential-centric brands who deliver highly-personalized, increasingly collaborative and engaging consumer experiences – both in the physical and online worlds – are leading over their peers. As communicators, we play a critical role in setting our brands apart from the competition using compelling stories that bring to life the awe-inspiring impact of experiential. When brands passionately show-and-tell rich stories that are authentic across an omnichannel strategy, consumers pay attention – especially the 80 percent of consumers who still consider themselves, primarily, to be “in-store” shoppers.

Here are a few examples of brands betting big on storytelling through experiential. Many are enjoying loyalty, reputation, engagement, and customer acquisition growth.

The CMO of Ulta Beauty, Dave Kimbell, summed it up perfectly when he stated, “…beauty shoppers don’t buy by price points. They curate by individual needs.” Ulta Beauty is tapping into the emotional appeal by storytelling its human connection and defining their stores as playgrounds for beauty.

CEO Roger Rawlins of shoe retailer DSW spoke of the need to forge “emotional connections” with customers, and is doing so by adding shoe repair and orthotic services. Focusing on engaging with its loyal customers on such experiences while at a DSW store primes customers to visit again (and spend more). This is especially true for millennial shoppers who are hungry for fun – and functional – experiences.

Albertson’s President and CEO Jim Donald avowed that consumers want a memorable experience across all touch points of their shopping journey – in-store, in-app and online. This means getting the back of the house in order to deliver on the experiences the brand is promoting and then telling the shopper the steps they took and how it benefits the shopping experience.

Brands that understand that consumers will embrace (or return to) unforgettable experiences will create brand affinity and loyalty among their target customer.

Shoptalk 2019 made an impression. See you there next year.

Ketchum clients have trusted this communications leader for strategic and creative counsel since 2004 when he joined Ketchum. Today, as partner, managing director and portfolio leader, Peters leverages his 27 years of public relations experience in the ever-evolving retail sector by working with client teams to drive feet to store (brick and mortar) and clicks to sites (e-tail). Engagement ranging from product and brand launches, media relations, franchisee & employee engagement, store openings, corporate reputation & crisis management and path-to-purchase messaging.

Peters is a retail expert, having collaborated on projects in grocery, food service and dining, QSR, general merchandise stores, convenience and gas stations, home improvement, health and personal care, electronics and e-commerce.

Peters is a self-acclaimed barbeque connoisseur and chef. He and his wife do their best to raise their teens in Dallas, along with a wily five-year-old Catahoula hound dog.