How retailers can take advantage of the new experience economy

22 December 2021, 07:16 AM
  • Can you use Christmas experiences to boost revenue and tap into new clientele in the new year? Danilo Mangano, managing director international at SevenRooms, explains how

Following the return of in-store shopping earlier this year, retailers are now benefitting from an influx of consumers as Christmas nears. Yet, while it’s easy to get lost amidst the chaos of the busy holiday season, retailers must think about how they can stand out from the crowd for the long-term. To ensure that end-of-year takings are high, they need to bring as many customers back in-store as possible. 

The booming new experience economy presents an invaluable opportunity to retailers, who can market entire in-house hospitality experiences by providing food and drink offerings to their customers. This is an excellent way to attract shoppers back on-premise and keep them in-store for extended periods of time. Investing in the new experience economy enables retailers to cross over into the hospitality sector and tap into new clientele, allowing for the maximisation of revenue over the holiday season and beyond.

For fine food independent retailers such as farm shops, food halls and delis, the new experience economy is an alluring prospect. It provides considerable opportunities for outlets to promote and serve their own offerings under their own roofs. In doing so, they can create unique hospitality experiences that customers can’t get anywhere else. Read on for advice on how to capitalise on the new experience economy this Christmas.

Utilising guest data

Understanding the needs of customers is crucial in fostering loyalty and building a deeper relationship with guests. In the context of an increasingly digital, e-commerce focused environment, developing and implementing a data-based marketing and guest engagement strategy has never been more important. 

Accumulating more customer information is essential, and drawing upon your own experiences and interactions is a great place to start. In your establishment, you and your staff probably know most of your regulars, from what their favourite items are, to how they prefer to be served. Getting to know more customers on that level is possible with the help of technology. 

Guest experience platforms have the power to compile data into a guest profile and help your staff use it at the right time. This customer data can aid retailers in the creation of bookable offers, promotions, and events aimed at attracting specific segments of your customer base. Here are a few example ideas for retailers to consider this holiday season:

1. Creative holiday staples

Make the most of your produce by promoting seasonal offerings. Christmas is a food-orientated affair, so the possibilities are endless. Promote your offerings as part of a package deal, (such as a festive hamper) or limited-edition Christmas products. For extra credit, pair these with seasonal beverage tastings.

2. Philanthropic partnerships

Embrace the season’s spirit of giving by partnering with a charitable organisation. Get creative: donate all proceeds from your signature drink or match every purchase of a particular item with a contribution to a local food bank.

3. New Year’s resolutions

January 1st may be the unofficial end of the holiday season, but it also marks the beginning of a health kick for many people hoping to get back in shape after the indulgences of Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year’s celebrations. Help your customers get off on the right foot with specials designed to wean them off the heavy holiday foods and into a healthier frame of mind.

Retailers should take full advantage of the technology they already have in-house to gain better insight into customer preferences. Utilising this information correctly can help retailers develop the best offerings for their guests, increasing retention opportunities throughout the festive period and into the new year. Similar data utilisation techniques are already in operation in larger outlets, with Harrods, one of the world’s most celebrated department stores, now using SevenRooms technology to elevate its reservation and guest experience across 14 restaurants, bars and cafes. Smaller retailers should seek to emulate this strategy by making the most of pre-existing customer data. 

Marketing seasonal experiences

Everything you learn about guests throughout their experiences with you can subsequently be used to improve customer experiences in the long-term. While incredible food and beverage offerings are a given, retailers can further demonstrate their dedication to excellent customer service by implementing a range of tailored marketing programmes, which can help them to differentiate from competitors. 

Any data collected during this time can be used to create hyper-personalised email marketing campaigns. This could be as simple as reaching out to gluten-free diners with an announcement about your new gluten-free bread, or encouraging your Chablis drinkers to visit your property for an exclusive tasting with a winemaker. It can also be used to boost takeaway orders with your dine-in regulars, or vice versa, via targeted promotions to locals and regulars. 

Getting creative on your business’ social media platforms is an excellent opportunity to showcase promotions and keep customers up-to-date with the latest seasonal experiences being offered on-site. This can be particularly useful for retailers looking to capitalise on the new experience economy, as they can take steps to brand their establishment as an entire day out in its own right, as opposed to one stop on a Christmas shopper’s agenda. 

The festive period is a huge opportunity, which should be about more than just opening your doors and welcoming the increase in covers. Investing in the new experience economy and taking control of customer data is the best way to capitalise on Christmas, whilst taking steps to ensure that sales are boosted in the quieter months to follow. The more people that you can attract on-site during the holidays means the more people you can market to and turn into repeat customers as we move forward into 2022.