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Companies have begun taking their marketing integration to the next level, baking marketing into every aspect of their brand, from the way they design their brick and mortar stores to their own employees’ brand experience.


These companies realize that modern consumers respond to innovative, immersive marketing. Today’s reality is that everyone is connected, all the time – living in a fully integrated world where we move seamlessly between interactions via technology and real-world experiences. To be effective, brand experiences should mirror that reality. Here are 3 tips for doing just that.


1. Design physical spaces with your brand experience in mind

It’s not enough to fill a square space with aisles, shelves or racks anymore – customers are looking for uniquely appealing spaces that are tailored to the brand experience. In a brick and mortar store, this can mean everything from innovation in the actual architectural design of the building, inside and out, to reimagining the purpose of a store and redesigning based on that new understanding. Craft stores, for example, could make their spaces hubs for creating and learning, basing the flow, the displays, and the set-up of their spaces around different sections for each type of craft – a knitting corner, a jewelry making table, a pottery studio.   51015342_s.jpg


Online stores with no physical presence can tap into this new design sensibility – pop-ups are all the rage these days, small kiosks created to be a temporary physical presence in a strategic location. And if a physical presence simply isn’t an option, video is always a possibility, bringing a real-world element to an otherwise purely online presence.


Related Article: Expand Your Business with Pop-Up Stores


2. Integrate technology wherever possible

Incorporating technology aimed at the connected consumer is key to creating physical spaces that will resonate with customers. Whether it’s a series of screens offering how-to information near certain products, a diagnostic kiosk to help consumers determine which product to buy, or interactive tech that turns an otherwise normal shopping experience into something memorably branded, strategic integration can have a significant impact. 


Once again, a physical presence is not a prerequisite – branded apps or online tools can do the job quite nicely for online businesses.


Related Article: The Emerging Tech That Could Boost Your Small Business


3. Create experiences based on customer data. 

We already know that most shopping is done online these days – but we also know that customers still enjoy real-world brand experiences. Tap into your customer data to find out what appeals to your demographic and your brand advocates specifically, and then design your brand experiences based on that information.


Maybe your customers love the feeling of luxury and pampering they get from visiting your bath and body store, but most your sales now take place online. You could reconfigure your store as a sample center, or even a mini spa, allowing customers to come in, experience new products, and get that real-world immersion in luxury – but then place orders for any purchases and have them shipped to the customer instead of stocking product in-store.


Related Article: How Video and Data Can Help Small Business Owners Better Target Customers


Integration has always been key to successful marketing, but this is integration 2.0. By designing physical spaces with your brand experience in mind, incorporating technology wherever possible, and creating experiences based on your customer data your business can provide consumers with the innovative, immersive brand experiences they crave.


You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here


About Shama Hyder

Shama Hyder Headshot.png

Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.


Web: or Twitter: @Shama.


You can read more articles from Shama Hyder by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Shama Hyder to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Shama Hyder is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Shama Hyder. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

A trend born of the Great Recession is having a huge effect on retailers—nearly a decade later.


“Consumers don’t want to acquire more stuff—they want to do more stuff,” says Marshal Cohen, Chief Industry Analyst at NPD Group. Consumer spending is shifting from purchasing products to spending on experiences, such as vacationing, eating out or attending concerts.


To compete, NPD Group advises, retailers need to create a more exciting shopping experience. Younger shoppers, in particular, seek “experiences” as part of their shopping journeys.


How can you improve the experience factor of your store? Here are six ideas.

1. Tune in. Music not only soothes the savage beast; it also gets customers—particularly Gen Z’ers—to spend more time in your store. In fact, according to a report by Fitch, Gen Z considers music an essential sign a store is open. Without music, your store won’t get their attention. But Gen Z consumers aren’t the only people who prefer to listen while they shop: A whopping 84 percent of respondents in The State of Brick & Mortar: 2017 survey say music makes shopping more enjoyable, while 54 percent say they’re more likely to recommend stores that play music to their friends and family.

Learn more about Gen Z: Your Consumer is Changing Again: What You Need to Know About Marketing to Gen Z


2. Be touchy. According to Fitch, holding and feeling products before they buy is a key part of the purchasing process for Gen Z shoppers. If you sell consumer electronics, put out floor models for customers to play with. Do you sell cosmetics or gourmet food?  Have plenty of testers and samples on hand. If you sell apparel, accessories or home decor, create lush displays that tempt shoppers to reach out and touch. 54519930_s.jpg


3. Get social. Creating and sharing memories is more important to today’s consumers than buying products, according to NPD Group—so make your store a place where it’s easy for shoppers to share their experiences. For example, an Instagram-worthy window display can attract crowds to take selfies. Encourage and incentivize shoppers to take those selfies and tag your business in social media posts; then pick a winner every week and give them a gift card.


4. Mix it up. Technology has made shoppers’ attention spans shorter than ever. Just as they expect an ever-changing stream of social media content, younger shoppers expect new stimuli from stores, according to the 10 Trends Millennial Retail report from Kelton. Stop your store from being boring by frequently changing your window displays, moving merchandise around or adding seasonal decor. You can even experiment with “pop-up” stores at other locations.


5. Think local. Millennials in the Kelton study would much rather support small, independent local retailers than big chains. Play up your status as a local small business by getting involved in “buy local” initiatives and events in your community. Embrace the local community in your store, too. For example, you could hold a monthly in-store concert where a local band performs while shoppers enjoy a discount. Display local artists’ or photographers’ work on your walls and swap it out every month. (You can even sell the artwork and take a percentage of the price as commission.)

Take your local focus one step further: Why Local SEO Matters More Than Ever (and 4 Steps to Success)



6. Get personal. Offer a personal touch by providing friendly guidance to help shoppers make decisions. Have salespeople bring customers accessories to complete an outfit while they’re trying it on, for instance. Start a loyalty program so you can record customers’ purchasing behavior and preferences. This enables you to customize your marketing messages for their specific interests, delivering a more personal experience.

Your Full Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs: The Small Business Guide to Customer Loyalty Programs


These 6 ideas will help bring in more traffic and ensure that you’ve optimized your customer’s experience in your store.


About Rieva LesonskyRieva Lesonsky Headshot.png

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.


Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.


Web: or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.


Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2017 Bank of America Corporation

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