Function vs Experience Dictate the Shopping Journey

How Function vs Experience Dictate the Shopping Journey

Whatever your retail offering, it’s a pretty safe bet that one thing concerns you more than anything else – the ever-increasing competition.

In 2017’s retail landscape, global retailers are more present than ever. From Amazon to John Lewis, and from Debenhams to Alibaba, there’s no shortage of competition out there keen to grab your customers.

And it’s not just their retail offering you need to worry about – it’s all the things they know about the marketplace that you might not. Think:

  • Changing customer expectations.
  • Buyer demands for greater flexibility.
  • The best practice for online shopping features.
  • New forms of retail technology.

If they cater to these changing requirements and you don’t, there are no prizes for guessing who wins market share.

Success lies in knowing where your own store sits in the retail spectrum, developing a clearly differentiated and articulated brand, and taking a considered, strategic approach to your sales and marketing.


So where, and who are you?

Is your store primarily functional – like Bunnings or Coles – or experiential like T2, offering customers a unique, interactive experience which appeals to their emotions or senses?

If you offer tools or cleaning products which are readily available elsewhere, you can’t always compete on price alone. Yet all sorts of extras can enrich your value proposition. Your brand becomes instantly appealing if you overlay flexible delivery and return models, expert advice and niche services.

If you’re boutique or luxury, or simply want to give your customers an experience they won’t get anywhere else, investigate ways to add retail theatre. Join the likes of Samsung, Google and John Lewis by creating an interactive, sensory retail space to engage customers via screens, sensor technology, apps, video and bespoke experiences.

Of course, rules are made to be broken. Stores like Mecca offer impressive customer service – free shipping and returns, choice of free samples and complimentary gift wrapping – in a no nonsense retail environment it’s an effective hybrid of functional with experiential dimensions.


How functional vs experiential affects your marketing

If you’re at the functional end of the market, you know that your customers can buy a drill, soap powder or potting mix pretty much anywhere.

The key to winning customers lies in persuading them that your product exceeds the competition in terms of:

  • Performance. Show how your product stands out through top performance – whether that’s precision drilling, ultra-white clothes or highly productive potting mix which is good for the environment too.
  • Economy. Demonstrate the excellent value for money your product represents – a longer life or consistently better results than those offered by your competitors.

Provide discounts and special offers in terms of performance (free warranty) or economy (percentage off price).

When selling an experiential brand, customer appeal extends beyond the product to value adds that may come from the setting, the place or the encounter.

So, if you are selling fruit juices, coffee or cupcakes, the customer’s enjoyment will depend as much on the music, lighting, smell, visuals and customer service in-store as it will on the food or beverage itself.

Consider adding free customer wi-fi, virtual reality experiences and online videos to the mix.

And remember, it’s all about how the customer feels when they interact with your brand. Be sure your special offers enhance the experience – a free beauty treatment or ‘coffee for two’ on the customer’s birthday, for instance.


The need to take a strategic approach

Whether it’s experiential or functional, a planned, strategic approach to your marketing keeps you on-track at every stage of the journey.

It ensures you cover off every angle, including:

  • Outstanding customer service.
  • Faster fulfilment of orders.
  • Deeper knowledge of customer preferences and buying habits.
  • Smarter problem-solving and solutions.
  • Customised retail offerings.
  • A variety of delivery and return options.
  • Comprehensive delivery tracking.


Ultimately, every successful retailer must offer customers both smooth function and pleasing experience.


Why not call us on 1800 737 266 for a chat about a strategy to suit you? Or email us at We’d love to help.

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