Generational Insights: Hands-on Experiences Continue to Set Products Apart

By Jasmine Glasheen, Generational Marketer for Retail Minded. 

I had an interesting experience when walking around in a college shopping district in my hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a friend of mine recently. I stopped in at a local music shop and while I expected to see records and band tees, I was dismayed to see that they were also fully-stocked in CDs… and that CD prices were the same as they were when I shopped with this retailer in high school. Now I personally gave my CD collection to Goodwill years ago. My 2014 car doesn’t have a CD player and nobody that I know still listens to CDs, unless they were given a limited edition recording by a friend or own one that was once very valuable.

So, my friend picked up a few records and we went up to the checkout counter. On the way there, I noticed that they had plastic Tupperware bottoms around the store to catch the rain, which spurred on the somewhat down-market feel I was getting from my high school hangout. When we got to the checkout area, I just couldn’t help myself… I had to ask the college kid ringing us up about the CD situation.

He said that their CD sales did about as well as anything else in the store. At this point, my interest was piqued. How could CD sales do as well as record players or concert tees? After all, record players produce better sound quality and concert tees are as wearable now as they were in 2007. So, why would a customer choose to buy a CD which could be damaged or broken when they can get the exact same sound quality with less of a hassle from their phone or MP3 player?

Here’s where I had my a-ha moment…

He said that a lot of customers just want something they can hold in their hand for their money.

Did you get that? Brick and mortar customers at this music shop are willing to forego convenience and modernization for the sake of having a product that has weight and dimension, so they continue to pay full-price for a product that is arguably already obsolete. There is no increased sound quality and no social “coolness” factor to buying CDs (as there is with record players) the single advantage for these customers is the allure of buying something they can hold in their hand.

Never underestimate the value of a tactile experience in retail. Data-based technologies are pivotal, but most customers still want a product they can walk away carrying. Everything from the sensory details – such as smell, sound and touch – to how well you cauk your ceilings before a heavy rain create a lasting impression on your customers. Make that impression exemplary. In today’s tech-heavy shopping atmosphere, give your customers a product they can feel and hold. There will always be a demand for a tactile experience. So create one that resonates to set your retail store apart from the rest!

How do you deliver on tactile expereinces? Fill me in on Twitter @GlasheenJasmin1, or get more retail insights by following #retailminded.

Till next time, 

Jasmine Glasheen

Generational Marketer | Writer


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