Would you pay an admission fee to enter a shop?
This week I read an interesting article about shopping behaviour and consumer experience.
The writer of this article states that nowadays consumers can order anything they want online and that there was no need to visit an actual store anymore. People only would come to the store because they consider the shopping experience was worth their time.
How does the shop owner know if the visitors really appreciate his (or her) store and its atmosphere? By charging an admission fee, says the article.
The thing I find really odd is the writer’s comparison with a theatre or a cinema where it is clear to everyone that they sell tickets.
As interesting as this article is as much I think that it missed the boat; in this case the company’s purpose. Cinemas and theatres sell the very service they stand for: entertainment. A store for Hi-Fi or a boutique for shoes sell the respective goods.
Moreover, the article mentions a coffee shop in London “The Ziferblat” where the coffee, Wi-Fi, cakes etc. are for free and the only thing you pay for is the time you are sitting there. A look at their website makes it very clear that they have a different business model. They rent working and meeting space and facilitate networking. This means coffee, cake and Wi-Fi is a courtesy to the clients.
You got it, I am sure.
The idea of making shopping more enjoyable is not extremely new. Shoe coffees where you get finest Italian espresso sitting among elegant shoes have been known for several years. Also coffee shops where every piece of furniture you sit on and all decoration items you are looking at are for sale are hardly a news flash. However, Haute Couture and espresso should maybe be separated a bit. Just in case you spill your coffee…
Let’s go back to the claim that shoppers want to be rewarded for their time investment. I really appreciate a good espresso but to me a great shopping experience comprises a nice shop where I can find what I am looking for and a competent sales person to consult me. If on top of it all I get an espresso I am in heaven.
While doing your online-shopping you can sit on your sofa eating and drinking to your liking. But at least in my opinion many shops have yet to create an outstanding online experience that I am confident to buy from.