Actually, what is a good retail experience?
Listen to Tim Radley discussing ‘Customer Experiences’ on the Louise Lally podcast

Please click the link below to follow the discussion…

Retailing with Meaning Ep1 Store Concepts (

‘Experiential retailing’ is a term most often used to express extreme physical shop theatre, music, lights, bells & whistles. It has been hijacked by the ‘modernistas’ of shop design and marketing as a quick win for commercial success.

However, there are many kinds of customer experiences, many of them as powerful and engaging, but which lay at other extreme of the shop entertainment spectrum.

So back to the question. Well, I am indebted to a young lady in Portugal not long into her retail career. In a workshop I was giving, she offered probably one of the most insightful of observations. She replied that a good retail experience was one where the customer didn’t fail!

There is no specific reference to music, entertainment or even product, though a successful experience could include one, or all three of these. The key is that the experience must be in-line with, it must exceed, each customers objectives, and expectations. And that these may be very different across customers, as well as different for any single customer, on a variety of shopping journeys.

Success on one day may consist of an immersive journey of hours, trying on products, hunting for ideas, sharing with friends. The next day it may be the efficiency of instantly locating a specific product, and paying within minutes, which represents success. It may even be returning a product efficiently without the need for a bank card or receipt.

All these journeys must be facilitated and celebrated by retailers. Even the ones that do not result in a sale. It will be a good investment for next time, and an insurance that there will be a next time.

Essential for retailers then, is that whether through shop design, the service of colleagues, the efficiency of operations, or the application of technology, that the customer does not fail in their singular objective.

Each shop must therefore assemble the tools to facilitate all types of customer journey. Importantly the colleagues must identify the required journey for any single customer, and the shop must adapt and expand to deliver that wonderful experience, which is ‘successful each time’ in many different ways.

Good shop experiences allow the customer to succeed. Bad experiences do nothing but facilitate failure.

Sometimes retail experiences are nothing about celebration. Even when they succeed. 

In the meantime…

Retail experiences and re-generation are featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’

If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.

'Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer' Out now. Available worldwide across amazon and popular online booksellers

I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.

Enjoy your read.