Why brands should use interactive advertising | Clear Channel
An interactive Belvita advertising screen inside a shopping mall

Experiential retailing: Why brands should use interactive advertising

We’ve entered a new era of retailing, where the boundaries between shopping and entertainment blur and the consumer experience takes centre stage. And with that new era comes new opportunities to leverage Out of Home (OOH) advertising techniques.

In this post, we’ll delve into the realm of experiential retailing and its symbiotic relationship with experiential OOH advertising. We’ll explore how brands are redefining consumer interactions to create lasting impressions and drive meaningful engagement, and discuss how OOH ads in retail environments are the perfect opportunity to create seamless customer experiences.

What is experiential retailing?

Experiential retailing is a concept that describes the transformation of retail from a simple process of buying a product to a full experience. It revolves around creating engaging experiences for retail customers, often through unique, immersive, or interactive shopping environments.

The emergence of experiential retailing is a response to the growing demand from customers for novel or personalised interactions with the brands that they buy from. Brands looking to uphold high favourability with their target market are devising increasingly interactive experiences to build deeper brand-consumer connections.

There are lots of high-profile examples of experiential retailing, but a particularly extreme one demonstrates the value of the practice best. Savi’s Workshop in Walt Disney World is fundamentally a retail store, selling toy lightsabers to Star Wars fans.

But the store goes beyond its fundamental purpose by creating a deep, immersive experience out of the shopping journey. Instead of choosing a pre-packaged product off the shelf, customers are invited to build their own lightsaber in a workshop format.

The benefits of this retail technique are clear – the shopping experience is far more impactful, and therefore memorable, and the customer’s connection with the brand is deepened through its uniqueness.

A special build campaign by UWE Bristol with a woman interactive with the campaign

The shift from traditional to experiential

Experiential retailing is only one example of the broad-based movement away from traditional consumer interactions and towards experiential ones. Advertising, and specifically OOH advertising, is another key area where this trend towards richer experiences is unfolding. 

The reasons for this shift in advertising are largely the same as for retail – experiential OOH campaigns allow advertisers to create more memorable interactions with their audience. As a result, they can foster stronger connections and drive increased engagement.

In order to achieve these outcomes, though, experiential OOH adverts have to adopt the same approach that has worked for experiential retailers. In other words, they need to go beyond messaging and imagery and instead create a fuller experience.

This can be done in diverse ways, from multi-sensory advertisements that feature visuals combined with audio to omnichannel campaigns that allow the audience to engage on a deeper level than simply seeing an advertisement.

The only necessary element for an experiential OOH advertisement is that it encourages the audience to directly engage with the advertising brand, whether in-person or online.

Maybelline's 3D digital shopping center campaign

Experiential OOH advertising in omnichannel campaigns

Experiential OOH adverts can operate independently as a single-channel campaign. However, they’re much more effective as a part of broader omnichannel campaigns that span both real-world and digital environments. This is because adding more channels to the campaign opens up new opportunities for engagement.

A standalone experiential OOH ad can only really integrate audience engagement opportunities through multisensory experiences. You could have a creative OOH ad that plays a sound every time it’s walked past, for instance, or one that’s surrounded by fragrant flowers.

These are both examples of experiential advertising, but they’re relatively simplistic which means the impact they can achieve is limited.

Experiential OOH ads integrated as part of omnichannel campaigns, however, can involve diverse mediums, all of which present opportunities for brands to maintain the initial connection with their audience and continue to deliver messaging.

For example, an OOH billboard ad could feature a QR code which, when scanned, takes users to a webpage with an engaging video that follows up on the billboard messaging and continues the advertising experience. This page could then link to more experiences across other platforms to take the experience even further.

Merging experiential OOH with experiential retail

Experiential OOH and experiential retail go hand-in-hand, and combining the two can create richer, more immersive experiences for customers than either can alone. This is particularly true for OOH advertisements in retail environments, like shopping centres, where experiential OOH ads can kick off a single, seamless customer journey.

As an example, imagine a health and beauty retailer with a store in a shopping centre. They could use an OOH platform like Clear Channel’s Malls Live Interactive screens to advertise their products elsewhere in the shopping centre, capturing the attention of shoppers.

With experiential creative, they could then engage those shoppers with a powerful interactive experience. For instance, they could use the front-facing cameras on the Malls Live Interactive screen to create an interactive feature that allows shoppers to test out hair dye colours in real-time.

The screen could then provide directions to the shop location in the mall, propelling the now-engaged shoppers towards the physical location. There, they would enter into an experiential retail environment where their customer journey results in a purchase.

Experiential OOH advertising in retail environments provides brands with the perfect opportunity to create seamless, engaging, and effective connections with their audience. To get started with your experiential OOH campaign, get in touch with us today.


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