Business Insights from Andrea Hill

The Importance of Experiences

21 August 2019
Live from the Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City, Iowa, Andrea Hill talks about the importance of offering your customers experiences that are relevant to your brand and your products.


I'm at the Coral Ridge Mall in Iowa City, Iowa. I've been studying the Helzberg jewelry store here. They're doing something better than almost every other retail store in the country. And we wanted to understand it, but that's a topic for another day. What I wanted to share is how busy this mall is. Today is a Tuesday. And since the mall opened at 10 a.m., it's been busy traffic throughout the mall in stores, people shopping and buying. I spend a lot of time in malls and the majority of them are dead or dying.

This mall has a good location, sure, but good location doesn't guarantee a good mall. If you look behind me, you'll see that's an ice skating rink and that rink is filled with people skating for fun, but also ice skating lessons. There's a children's museum here and fun activities scattered throughout the mall, all things that make it an entertaining place to be. I don't think retail has quite figured out what it wants to be in the 21st century yet.

But I do know it's about experiences. This mall is creating experiences and therefore it's creating traffic. In fact, all businesses today are about experiences, customers for every type of business in to B or B to C just to have so many choices. And when prices are relatively stable across the board and quality is quite high across the board, then the only differentiator is experience. I'm not talking about service services expected. I'm talking about experiences, things that make life more interesting, more fun or more valuable.

As I talk to you now, I'm watching grandparents walking into the mall with small children. This is a place to go. How can you make your business a place to go and experience to have in ways that are relevant to your business, the staff in the hills? Because I've been working and are so passionate about jewelry at the store, it's fun. They study and listen to fun podcasts and read the latest blogs about jewelry. They're all taking classes or otherwise studying and then they're sharing those stories and all that enthusiasm with their customers.

That's an experience I didn't see a coffeemaker or offers of wine in the store. The experience they're offering is the richest jewelry buying and selling experience possible. The experience this mall is offering is the experience of a place to go and things to do, which include shopping. So that's what I wanted to share with you today. What relevant, meaningful experiences are you offering? Do you understand your own brand enough to offer experiences that are consistent with expanding your brand?

Because that's what it takes to be successful today. And when you're creating those experiences, you won't just be making more money. You'll also be having more fun.


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