Experience Marketing at Retail Environments

Experience Marketing at Retail Environments

Gozde Oymen Kale, Ebru Ulusoy
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6190-5.ch018
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The economy in which consumers live today is considered the experience economy. One of the industries that is growing in this economy is the entertainment industry. Additionally, this industry is not only limited to conventional entertainment contexts today. For instance, many retail contexts have started to operate according to the rules of this industry. Today, the entertainment value that consumers construct within and derive from the market is highly dependent on the experiences they find in retail contexts. Entertaining experiences play the focal role in most retail contexts due to the high level of positive managerial outcomes, such as economic value. Therefore, there is a growing need to understand the phenomenon of commercial experiences that provide entertainment and their role in various retail environments in different cultures. This conceptual chapter aims to understand how successful retailers utilize experience marketing to attract more consumers.
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Research shows that consumers have become increasingly concerned with meaning, happiness, and sensations in the market. Thus, they are increasingly interested in consuming experiences (Fortezza and Pencarelli, 2011), rather than functional material products. As a result, marketers have also become more interested in the commercial potential of offering experiences. There is a growth in this phenomenon, especially in industries that primarily involve entertainment (Pine and Gilmore, 1999; Benedikt, 2001; Lonsway, 2007). The notion of experience has become the key element in understanding structure of many market environments (Berger, 1998; Sherry, 1998; Peñaloza, 1998; Kotler, 1999; Kozinets et al., 2002; Kozinets et al., 2004; Lonsway, 2007; Klingmann, 2007; Hollenbeck, Peters, and Zinkhan, 2008).

The main reason for the greater interest in experience by marketers and consumers is the associations the concept has with some characteristics of the contemporary consumer culture, such as fun, pleasure, leisure, fantasy, and discovery, which greatly attract people (Holbrook and Hirschman, 1982; Mukherjee and Venkatesh, 2008; Ritzer, 1999; Kozinets et al., 2002; Kozinets et al., 2004; Lonsway, 2007; Sundbo and Hagedorn-Rasmussen, 2008; Wikström, 2008; Goulding et al., 2009). A significant portion of everyday and extraordinary experiences that contemporary human beings find meaningful are created in the market. Furthermore, people are willing to pay more for these experiences (Pine and Gilmore, 1999; Schmitt, 1999; Diller, Shedroff, and Rhea, 2005).

In the experience economy (Pine and Gilmore, 1999), retail environments have become theaters wherein retailers interact with their consumers, and provide them entertaining spaces. However, it would be misleading to assume that all experiences are equally meaningful and important for market actors (Pine and Gilmore, 1999). The focus of this chapter is retail experiences that consumers find to be meaningful, and successful experience design tools utilized by marketers to make the retail spaces more attractive.

In this chapter, first, a discussion on the meaning of the concept of ‘experience’, and ‘experience marketing’ is provided. Second, the importance of experience creation for retailers is discussed. Finally, various dimensions of successful experience marketing at retail settings are analyzed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Customer Value: The benefits consumers derive from a retail context.

Retail Environments: Contexts where the seller and the end consumer directly meet.

Sensory Marketing: Marketing strategy that aims to trigger as many senses of the consumers as possible. It is effective and memorable.

Experience Dimensions: Dimensions that lead to valuable and memorable experiences. Sensory, story, relational, and emotional dimensions.

Experience Consumption: Focus on the fun, entertainment, feeling, fantasies aspects of consumption.

Experience Marketing: A strategic and holistic marketing of relevant (and meaningful) experiences.

Experience Economy: Economy that relies on the creation and sell of experiences rather than physical goods or services.

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