All over the country, brick-and-mortar doors are shuttering — and as a result, it’s more important than ever for brands and retailers to elevate their in-store experiences. According to Mary Beth Keelty, chief marketing officer at digital marketing company PMX Agency, enhancing storytelling is a key tool to draw consumers.

Keelty said shoppers today crave what only an in-store experience can provide. “There’s a desire for a dynamic kind of in-store space that’s less about retail or the actual transaction and more about the experience gained,” she said. “Generation Z, in particular, has demonstrated an enthusiasm for spending time in stores if it means that it will offer them a unique place for brand immersion, exploration and experiences that they can share.”

Personalization can be a successful part of a brand’s storytelling, continued Keelty. “Increased emphasis on creativity and being a part of the design process brings consumers closer to brands,” she reflected.

Take the footwear category as one example — it is unique in the sense that it can become fully ingrained in a lifestyle story. “Footwear can be reflective of a particular lifestyle experience that transcends the actual product,” she explained. “An outdoor brand, for example, can story-tell around a pair of hiking boots and how they might be part of a transformative journey, like hiking a mountain or being outdoors and feeling one with nature.”

In-store, she explained, the brand could project that experience by implementing virtual or augmented reality to allow store visitors to connect with that environment.

“With brand loyalty becoming less of an influence, consumers care more about how an experience makes them feel and how it brings them to a place of personal transformation,” Keelty said. “The key to succeeding at in-store storytelling is that it feels like a truly elevated experience, and one that cannot be had online.”

For More WWD Business News, See:

Augmented Reality Will Transform The Shopping Experience

New Product Enables Personalized Experiences Across Retail Channels

Retail’s Renaissance Discussed at SAP’s Retail Executive Forum

Social Media Engagement Critical for Brands

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