Lessons in experiential retail from around the globe | The Grocer

Albert Heijn has a living herb garden in the produce department In there, there are 13 types of herbs and consumers can go in and they can select the herbs they want and cut them before taking them to the till. We think this is a fantastic physical manifestation of the farm to fork concept. There are questions that we’d be interested in knowing the answer to about wastage, so what happens if the consumer cuts a herb and they realise it’s not the one they want for their dinner for that night. However, as a retailer being bold and going out there with a really exciting, innovative concept, we think it’s fantastic. US food maker Hershey’s has developed a Medley store, which essentially is a new type of grocery store and it blends grocery with leisure. It’s talking about the customer going into store and maybe meeting up with some friends walking around, where they’ll see dinners being cooked and things and they can have a chance to sample those So they’re really thinking about the grocery store being a place of inspiration, not necessarily a place where you pick all you shopping up in one go and that’s your only mission in going to that store. What it is, is a neighbourhood store built from the ground up by Whole Foods Market. They’ve really thought about the type of thing that’s going to be in that store and what the future shopper wants in that store. One of the most exciting things they’ve introduced is a concept called Friends of 365. These are independent businesses and brands that Whole Foods has invited into their store and then given them space to trade from. Experiential retail is often narrowly interpreted to mean only in-store theatre and exciting shoppers. However, this is a great example of experiential retail delivering an experience to shoppers that’s a positive one but it’s not all singing and all dancing. They’re cutting the clutter of the in-store experience and they’re essentially giving back consumers some of their free time.

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