Shoppertainment 101

We love following Storefront's blog, and they recently published a great post on shoppertainment. The word itself might be made up, but the concept certainly isn't anything new to the retail community. From interactive technology (think: Apple Store) to hands-on play (think: the FAO Schwarz piano in the film Big) to crazy and wild (think: IKEA's slumber parties) to not-so-tragically hip school buses (think: Warby Parker) and more, shoppertainment can take many forms across many industries. To help you use shoppertainment to increase sales and build your business, we thought we'd go over the basics of shoppertainment and how you might want to apply the principles to your shop.


What is shoppertainment?

Shoppertainment is a fun, hands-on, tactile experience for customers—intended to leave a lasting impression.

Why is it effective?

Shoppertainment gives people a fun story about your business that they are often more willing to share, either by word of mouth or through social media. It lets them try (and perhaps buy) products that they might not otherwise. But most importantly, it creates memorable, personal experiences that add that human element to your brand and encourages customer loyalty.

At IKEA's slumber party in Essex, for example, 100 lucky guests put on their PJs and were treated to massages, movies, manicures, bedtime stories from celebrities and a find-your-perfect-mattress guide. The experience was inspired by a Facebook group called, "I wanna have a sleepover at IKEA," so already the marketing team had an idea of how viral this PR stunt could become.

IKEA sleepover via Trend Hunter

What makes shoppertainment successful?

When planning shoppertainment experiences, we recommend starting small and working your way up. This basic checklist below should help. If your idea doesn't meet all three criteria, it's time to try something else.

  • First, is it shareable? Will people Instagram this? Will they tell their friends? Will they
  • Second, is it related to your shop and products? Sometimes you might come up with a crazy-fun idea, but if it doesn't reflect your business, then what's the point? It might not be worth the investment. Some businesses lend themselves better to shoppertainment than others, but truly the only limitation is your creativity!
  • Third, is it too marketing-focused?  Great shoppertainment isn't about overselling—your customers will see right through it and that's worse than no shoppertainment at all. It should always tie back to your brand, but in a natural way.

How would you implement shoppertainment in your store? Let us know in the comments!