Instead of simply selling things, retailers would do well to sell experiences - alongside attractive products, of course, Stephens says. Stores that emphasize "storytelling," such as Pirch in New York City, engage shoppers in a singular way. The average dwell time at Pirch is two hours, driven by customers free to try out any appliance in the home fixtures and furnishings store, and sales per square feet stand at more than $3,000.
Millennials in particular are drawn to "experiences" versus "things," and Stephens points out that these consumers say an experience with any given retailer is more important than the actual product being sold. This might explain why adidas has partnered with Wanderlust, which creates multi-day festivals and single-day fitness events, merging the energy of a music festival into the community atmosphere of a yoga and fitness event. Wanderlust co-founder Jeff Krasno describes Millennials as an "active generation inspired by physical challenge as well as style, fashion, music and art."
New retail concepts such as the sensory-driven Story in New York City are moving toward an "experiences per square foot" model. "If you're appeasing the ‘sales per square foot' metric, stores will continue to get more boring," says Stephens, "because buyers won't take risks with adding new products."
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