This week Britain’s been hit with the news that the UK’s biggest department store, Debenhams, is going into administration.

It unsurprisingly made the headlines with multiple news outlets, and we were particularly interested in Radio 4’s discussion of it on their news show Tuesday afternoon.

 

What was said

Lindy Woodhead, who worked in international public relations for 25 years and was the first woman on the Board of Directors at Harvey Nichols, was invited to talk to the show’s host about the news. She said:

“In order to work and survive in retail you have to put on a show.”

Talking about why the store ultimately failed, she continued: “There’s no show at Debenhams anymore. Shopping now has far eclipsed just going to buy goods. If you want to buy goods, you can just press your button and buy online.”

“We mustn’t write off the department store in total because there are some that are rising above it, but the customer wants to eat, drink, maybe see an art exhibition, definitely hear some music… so it’s a chance for the street environment to come into the retail environment.”

 

We have some thoughts

In short, we couldn’t agree more. Shoppers need to be offered something more than a straightforward transaction. Straightforward is boring, and doesn’t lend itself to forming relationships to that brand or retailer.

They need an experience; a reason to come back again and again, and think more positively about that brand.

Retailers – no matter what they’re selling – shouldn’t neglect this fact.

 

So what do retailers need to do?

If retailers are able to offer an experience, ultimately they’ll form a long-lasting connection that is otherwise so difficult to form via online shopping.

In fact, EMI & Mosaic data showed that 74% of event attendees say that they have a more positive experience about the brand after that event. 70% become regular customers after an experiential marketing event, and 65% of brands say their experiential programs are directly related to sales.

We’re pleased to be able to work with some of the world’s biggest brands to excite shoppers and bring them unforgettable experiences. Check out some of our work with global brands here.