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Define and Discuss ‘Retail Experience’ Essay

Define and discuss ‘retail experience’. Use a case study example to demonstrate its application. How does the retailer create and enhance value?

Define and discuss ‘retail experience’. Use a case study example to demonstrate its application. How does the retailer create and enhance value?

David Olu


Define and discuss ‘retail experience’. Use a case study example to demonstrate its application. How does the retailer create and enhance value?

When people go shopping they want to encounter an enjoyable experience which will satisfy their needs so in recent years retailers have tried to take the shopping experience to another level in order to encourage consumers to build a relationship with the brand. The purpose of this essay will be to outline what is meant by the term “retail experience”. The main focus will be on a particular case study involving Apple in order to explain how the retailer goes on to enhance value.

Retail experience can be seen as a process in which a retailer packages an experience together with products. (Berman B & Evans J 2010) highlight that “A Retailers image depends heavily on its “atmosphere”. When looking at atmosphere it is the psychological feeling a customer gets when visiting the retailer.’’

It is noted that atmosphere can influence hedonic value this is an important aspect of the experience, because this is what plays a vital role in gaining a customer’s interest and it can help in leading the customer into the buying process. All of the major retailers will aim to provide a relaxing environment for their consumers because shopping is considered as fun and pleasurable (Jones, 1999). There are some key factors that contribute to this, first we look at music because it provides entertainment for shoppers Turley and Chebat (2002).

Followed by lighting the appropriate use of it, such as product spotlighting and dim ambient lighting, and thirdly the use of bright and vibrant colours. Swinyard (1993) reiterated this by pointing out that “Mood states are present in virtually every shopping encounter, and could have a significant effect on shopping behaviour”. And In Relation to this (Kemp and Kopp 2011) also put forward that Emotions shape our everyday existence, including our consumption and purchase behaviour. So this could mean that a consumer in a bad mood may tend to view shopping activities differently from one in a good mood.

When a customer enters the store atmosphere they are not able to experience the music in seclusion or smell the scent without seeing the colours as well they do not walk on the floor-covering without feeling the ambient temperature. The typical customer experiences amounts of all these and other incentives as an on-going, collective experience. So it can be argued that most buying environments are purposefully designed to produce specific emotional effects in shoppers.

Berman & Evans J (2010) argued that “The presentation merchandise and the displays that bring shoppers into the store are very important in creating a retail image. So other factors which have to be considered when looking at retail experience is the layout of the shop itself because if the shop is nicely laid out it will encourage customers to spend more time in the shop than originally planned. So retailers have to consider the layout of the products and how they can appeal to customers and also clearly labelled displays if they have any in order to make the customers indentify what is on sell clearly. So it is always essential for a business to ensure that the shop is properly organised.

A store exterior provides a powerful impact on a business’s image this should be planned effectively a store exterior consists of the total physical exterior of the store itself, with a storefront most retailers can present a traditional, trendy, upscale environment, in relation to retail experience customers who happen to pass a shop they usually judge a store by its exterior so this can be used to draw in customers with things like display windows showing products will be able to catch a customer’s attention straight away most retailers make use of mannequins in order to grab people’s attention.

Customers always want to feel valued and welcomed when they visit a shop so when they enter the shop they expect a good customer service from the members of staff this is crucially essential for an organisation to manage. Because not only will shoppers appreciate the store due to the products offered, or atmospherics’ but they will have more of a strong interest due to the kindness of the salesperson (Lombart and Jeandrain, 2003). If the members of staff are always available and helpful it will create a customer satisfaction and this can be considered as a key determining factor with benefits of repeat shopping and buying behaviour if managed effectively so with this it means that customers will always have a good experience, when they encounter polite and helpful members of staff and this will also create a positive image for the business.

Promotion is another tool in which retailers will aim to provide satisfaction to their customers so in order for them to do this they implement special offers as a strategy to achieve this, if an organisation regularly provides promotion as part of its experience it will find that they will attract more customers. So for example retailers like Tesco or Asda regularly offer promotion and they go head to head on offers in order to gain draw in more people. Not only will offering promotions attract repeat custom it will also allow the organisation to generate profit.

All different kind of Retailers will try to use different ways in order to bring that retail experience that their consumers desire so retailers who connect with customers through experiences which are personally relevant , memorable, interactive and also emotional are more likely to increase sales and brand loyalty and this is why experience stores such as Apple have emerged, reason being that they want customers to bond with the brand, at first hand , a “try before you buy” approach .

Apple is one of the biggest leading technology companies in the world apple provides customers with an attractive and relaxed environment where they can handle. “Apple has been developing its experience stores since 2001 and by the end of 2008 the company had opened some 250 increasingly sophisticated stores” (Jones, & Comfort, 2010).

Benghazi (2012) States that entertaining browsing experiences might help a browser to learn more about the offers and characteristics. Customers will be able to use knowledge in order to make a decision on whether they should purchase the product or not so in regards to this Apple provide their consumers with a live interaction of their products for example the Apple store in London’s regent street lets customers get involved in “Getting started workshops” this includes showing customers how to set up a new Mac, connecting to the internet and sending emails.

This goes to show that Apple are trying to involve their customers with a firsthand experience of the brand and the products they offer, the experience goes beyond the store itself the company provides summer camps for children and youth workshops. Children aged 8-12 years get what is known as a “hands-on Mac experience, during a 3 hour workshop 8-13years olds can compose a song “in a garage band”, construct a photo album and create key note presentations. This illustrates on how Apple are trying to expand retail experience to their customers by going beyond the in store experience this will in return generate a positive outcome for Apple.

Within regards to the designs of the stores, the interior represents three values, which are transparency, community and service. There is the open spacious interior containing the computers, IPods and IPhones which are neatly placed on tables this portrays transparency. Community is encouraged by the store through its theatre and its lounging areas and then the commitment into services is branded into customers minds as they are able to visit the genius bar, each store is looked at as a place where people can feel comfortable and are not intimidated by technology.

Apple stores may be designed to sell but also at the same time they are designed to teach, customers who walk into an apple store just for a casual play of the products can find that the experience can quickly turn into some serious learning. When we look at a typical apple store it has three spaces the first one is usually for play and for purchasing, and the other one is for learning a customer would typically come across these areas in that order. The shop is laid out in a simple manner enabling the customers to move around freely to admire the products within the store.

Like any other store, apple stores consist of members of staff who wear a blue t-shirt with the apple logo in the middle making them easily recognisable to the public as the staff with a casual look. There always there to help customers with their knowledge on how to use the products. The members of staff always ensure to ask customers if they need help if the customer looks lost, this type of retail setting allows customers and members of staff to interact as the members of staff are always asked questions in regards to the products, and the questions that the customers ask the staff guide the learning and they reveal what has been learned and what else is there left to be learned. So in a sense Apple have able to take the relationship between the customers, staff members and the store to a different level of retailing and learning.

The Apple store has built relevance into every section of the shop, the members of staff are aware that they have to start with the customer and with whatever knowledge the customer knows and then progress on from there. Despite the technology the apple store experience is more focused on forming a relationship with the products rather than just focusing on products. An Apples store experience generally provides a powerful image about the brand Apple is able to combine products together with service effectively in order to reward their customers with a unique experience in which customers are able to feel like learners who are able to develop valuable skills. The Apple store learning experience is greatly adapted and focused on the interests and the needs of the individual customer.


Retail experience is vital for all of the retailers to establish in order to looking at Apple they have successfully established an environment where customers would want to come back again and again so in conclusion Apple has shown that they value their customers by ensuring that their customers experience the products at first hand and by also taking that experience out of the store by providing their customers with things like summer camps. It is vital that Apple continue to bring this experience to their customers because it will mean that they will generate repeat custom and also they will be able to attract new customers.

Berman, B. and Evans, J. (2010) Retail management a strategic approach. 11th Ed. New Jersey: Pearson education Inc, p.508, 509,510,512. Internet
Sonera, T. (2006). Apple case study. Available: www.buyukdemirci.com/Apple/Apple_case_.pdf. Last accessed 18th November 2012. Journals
Ballantine, P. et al. (2010) Atmospheric cues and their effect on the hedonic retail. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38 (8), p.1, 2. Burns, D. and Neisner, L. (2006) Customer satisfaction in a retail setting: The contribution of emotion. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 34 (1), p.50, 51. Jones, P. et al. (2010) Retail experience stores: experiencing the brand at first. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 28 (3), p.243. KEMP, E. and KOPP, S. (2011) Emotion in consumption. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 10: p.1. Kronrod, A. et al. (2012) Hedonic Consumption and compliance with assertive messages. Journal of Consumer Research, Inc., 39 (1), p.52. Nsairi, Z. (2012) Managing browsing experience in retail stores through. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 40 (9), p.678. Swinyard, W. (199300) The Effects of Mood, Involvement, and Quality of Store Experience on Shopping Intentions. Journal of consumer research, 20p.271. Washor, E. et al. (2009) At the Core of the Apple Store: Images of Next Generation Learning. The Phi Delta Kappan, 91 (2), p.61, 62, 63

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