Another Retailer Dies as Amazon Grows

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So busy day, Sports Authority is done, Aeropostale is de-listed, bankrupt and probably facing liquidation. I guess that just proves consumers want to purchase online.

Except maybe it doesn't.

Amazon Prime Now just grew into its own web presence (and is up to 25 markets). That means Amazon is getting more brick as retailers are struggling to get more click. Everyone's models are changing.

Why? Because of Experience. What consumers clearly want are awesome experiences that provide value combined with massively efficient purchasing (which is a commodity and thus of little value). While retailers are focusing on the latter they ignore the former to their peril.

What would have happened if Sports Authority integrated sports bars and e-sports sections 5 years ago? How would they look today if they were the first retailer to sell college logo e-sports jerseys? What if they had Madden football face-offs? How would Aeropostale look if they had used their footprint to host super chic quinceañera or pre-prom events? I suspect they would both still be growing.

Be Bad Ass.

Experience is Not "Experiential"

So this happens all the time. I go through my lovely Experience Economy Marketing Framework (just ask- I'll happily show it to you too) and the audience says, "Wow! That's ah-may-zing...but we aren't doing more experiential" or words to that effect. 

Oh really....

Forester lists "experience" as the number one criteria for retail purchase. US Govt. statistics show companies with "positive" experiences outperforming the median by 36% (and almost 80% more than laggards) and experience vendors are the fastest growing sector of the economy. So,what gives?

Experience is a combination of personalization, participation, sensation and memory. When consumers say they want "experience" they mean that they want to focus on what they should be doing WITH a product or service, how it can impact them, how they should participate with it, and what memories generated doing so will create.

Experiential, on the other hand, is really the business of exhibit marketing. While it's grown, it still really boils down to "babes, booths and bands." While that's a great way for brands to meet consumers, both B2B and B2C, it has very little to do with the actual experience of a brand or product.

Certainly, experience encompasses "experiential" and the lessons cross apply. However, finding ways to teach appliance owners how to host a dinner party has very little to do with Design and Construction Week and helping new parents plan a day at the beach (along with helping them use their child safety seat) isn't the LA Autoshow. 

Maybe you have enough spending going to "experiential" but I guarantee that "experience" is being underserved.

Be Bad Ass.

Consumers Have Enough Stuff...Sell Them What They Actually Want

Apple's iPhone sales are slowing. The total smart phone market is saturated and pulling back. Tablet sales have been in decline for 8 straight quarters. TV sales continue to drop, automotive is up but only as replacement - net drivers are shrinking. 

But... air travel is up, restaurant sales are up... consumer spending is rising at its fastest pace in 9 years. So how can consumers be spending more and yet buying less?

Simple. The Experience Economy has really arrived. The value that is now building is for the experiences themselves, more specifically participation, personalization, sensation and memory. Don't believe me? Check out this article from the Washington Post. 

So okay, that's great if you own the wine-tasting-painting-blowing-drying bar but what if you are a retailer? Shift to retailing experiences and then bundle those experiences with stuff... then sell the heck out of that stuff. 

Great, so how do you do that?

Determine what your guests want to participate in using products that you sell, uncover how those products can be personalized for them (hopefully even on-site. Consider the Converse Custom Shoe Bar), generate specific sensory moments that relate to that participation, and then sell them mementos so that they can remember (consume again) the experience.

Be bad ass.

Golf is Old and Boring...So Why Are Gen x's and Millennials Flocking to it?

Golf is a way for old guys wearing purple pleated pants to run away from their wives. Or maybe its a way for cronies to exercise that crony capitalism we keep hearing about. Whatever it is, it certainly isn't a vibrant way for gen x's a millennial's to hang out and have a blast.

Or is it? (k, that was super dramatic reveal sounding)

Golf isn't dead, just the old way of playing is. Sure attendance at golf clubs is in a death spiral but the sport is actually pulling in droves of new players and growing with gen x's and millennial's. So, how can the sport be growing while attendance and purchasing of materials is shrinking?

These guys are one of the reasons. Top Golf has distilled all the stuff we love into a modern, relevant and repeatable experience. What's awesome about golf? Athleticism that a broad range of people can do, developing a skill (and showing your status by being great at it), drinking, watching sports in the club house and spending quality time with people (may you care for em, maybe you want to do some cronying). What's not awesome? Green fees, bag rentals, cart rentals, drive times, waiting for that annoying group ahead of you to finish on the green, dealing with that scratch golfer behind you waiting to play through...

Top Golf figured out how to only give us the good stuff.  Take a bowling alley concept, modernize it with great decor and amenities, and then mash it together with a driving range and sports bar. Just flipping awesome. And tailor made (or Taylor?) for the Experience Economy. 

It ticks all the boxes. Participation, memory, themeing, staging, personalization, sensation, mementos, status skills, myth of me...yep, all there. Oh and they integrate third party events, golf pro's and they are blowing up all over the place. We are even getting one in LA.

Be bad ass.