I tend to believe that often the word “experience” is abused. That goes often together to the fact, that the only customers who need to “live an experience” are millennials. What about the other customers? Are the others just focusing on buying “stuff”?
‘Experience’ is a kind of unicorn. Everyone talks about it but nobody seems to know exactly what it is and how should be delivered. The thing is that often the word ‘experience’ is associated to technology or to a novelty/ a gimmick. But if we look deeply below the surface, we find out that ‘experience’ relies in the essence of customer centricity. That is not a new concept at all. As a matter of fact, the ‘bottega’ (a mix of workshop/laboratory and retailing) mission was based on the true value of customer care: excellent product, direct contact and after sale.
Strong marketing strategies of the late 80’s and 90’s have derailed the idea the customer was at the center of everything. Massification of the message and improper use of the media, supported the idea the companies had to be ‘product centric’ and ‘marketing driven’.
Also, that implied that stores needed ‘managers’ to read KPI more and that customers can be ‘managed’ through a CRM system.
Eventually, going to the store turned into a product acquisition that totally seems pointless in an era when you can do just the same thing sitting on your comfortable sofa at home.
That’s why we need ‘experience’. That basically means going back to the origins with the support of the new tools. It means returning to the ‘customer culture’ that retail seems to have lost.
Millennials seem to ‘need’ it, probably because the rest of ‘non-millennials’ have almost gave it up on hopes.
We need to reset the system. New ways of hiring people, less CV focus and more motivational driver centric. New ways of following up on training. New ways of designing the retail environment for the employees. Eventually, they will be the ones creating the conditions for the famous ‘experience’.