Register Now
Request Demo
    Hero Shape

    Experiential Retail 101 — With Top Examples of Experiential Shopping

    September 26, 2023
    7 minute read
    Experiential Retail 101 — With Top Examples of Experiential Shopping

    Gone are the days when shoppers expected the bare minimum from brands and retailers — experiential retail and immersive shopping experiences are the new must-haves for consumers.

    From trying on 20 shades of lipstick from the comfort of your own home to playing a spin-the-wheel game to get a deep discount, the list of experiential shopping experiences continues to grow.

    Here’s a breakdown of experiential retail, experiential shopping, and examples of the top 10 experiences that support winning digital shelf experiences.

    What Is Experiential Retail?

    Experiential retail is the process of creating engaging and immersive shopping experiences using interactive elements, new technologies, and brand storytelling. These shopping experiences span both in-store and online channels.

    Experiential retail supports omnichannel commerce, which is the process of creating seamless shopping experiences across touch points, taking omnichannel retail to the next level by supporting the buying journey in new and innovative ways — keeping up with shifting consumer demands.

    What Is Experiential Shopping?

    Experiential shopping is when a shopper engages with these engaging, immersive shopping experiences across their buying journey — spanning brick-and-mortar and digital shopping channels.

    These shopping experiences help brands and retailers connect with customers, supporting brand loyalty, conversion, and sales.

    Top 10 Experiential Retail Examples

    Here are the top examples of experiential retail, highlighting how each experiential shopping experience supports the modern buying journey.

    1. Augmented Reality (AR) Shopping

    AR shopping allows a shopper to use their smartphone to overlay product content images onto their real-world environment. This shopping experience helps shoppers see in real-time how a product might look within their home — and this visualization can help expedite buying decisions.

    2. Virtual Try-On

    AR shopping includes virtual try-on tools that allow a shopper to see how fashion and beauty products look on the body and face. These tools also help expedite buying decisions, as shoppers no longer need to visit a brick-and-mortar location to see, try on, or test products in person.

    YSL Beauty Virtual Try On Screenshot Example Salsify Experiential Shopping

    Image Source: Yves Saint Laurent

    Luxury beauty brand Yves Saint Laurent offers a virtual try-on tool on its website to offer shoppers a virtual makeover with their wide selection of makeup products.

    3. Shoppable Video

    Shoppable video allows a shopper to purchase products directly from links within video content. YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest are just some examples of channels that offer embedded tools to support buying from video. Shoppable videos can offer entertainment, information — or a combination of both — to build connections with shoppers.

    4. Live Stream Shopping

    Shoppable video includes formats like live stream shopping that allows a shopper to purchase products during live events where a host, often a celebrity or social media influencer, showcases new products using a variety of creative formats. Live stream shopping also offers "infotainment" for its audience, supporting buying decisions — especially for trendy and viral products.

    petco live shopping event to show experiential shopping and retail via facebook live

    Leading pet health and wellness company Petco ran a shoppable live canine fashion show and pet adoption event: The Perfect Fit.

    Video Source: Petco Facebook

    5. Personalized Product Recommendations

    Personalized product recommendations are product pages, web pages, or mobile app features that offer a shopper a customized list of recommended products or set of products using information about their individual preferences, buying behavior, purchase history, and other data points. Personalized recommendations can help with product discovery and upsell.

    6. AI-Powered Shopping Assistants

    Personalized product recommendations include artificial intelligence (AI)-powered ecommerce tools like AI-powered shopping assistants that allow a shopper to receive personalized product recommendations in a different format. AI shopping assistants can also provide additional product information and answer shopper questions — all supporting shopper engagement and conversion.

    7. Gamified Shopping

    Gamified shopping allows shoppers to connect with brands and retailers using interactive games and experiences. From virtual or in-store “spin-to-win” wheels, advent calendars, or scavenger hunts that feature coupons and free gifts to interactive quizzes that offer personalized product recommendations, there is a wide assortment of creative ways to implement gamified shopping into your shopping experiences.

    8. Enhanced Content

    Enhanced content is product content featured on a product page that goes beyond the essential, required content — such as a product title or product description — to offer additional, engaging multimedia elements. These enhanced content features include videos, extensive image galleries, product feature tours, comparison charts, downloadable materials, and more.

    In addition to supporting immersive shopping experiences, enhanced content has helped brands reach 15% higher conversion, on average, according to internal Salsify data.

    9. User-Generated Content (UGC)

    User-generated content (UGC) consists of images, videos, reviews, and other content created by individual shoppers, highlighting their thoughts and opinions about a brand, product, or set of products.

    UGC is created and shared by individual shoppers — instead of by brands or retailers — but can be leveraged with permission to offer other shoppers real-world, customer-driven insights that support the buying journey.

    10. Virtual and Brick and Mortar Pop-Up Stores

    Pop-up stores are temporary online retail spaces or digital storefronts, often part of a marketing campaign to promote new products, promotions, or a holiday shopping event like Black Friday. Pop-up stores offer customers an exclusive, time-sensitive opportunity to engage with your brand and products, helping to build connections with engaging digital or physical experiences.

    Experiential Retail Is Changing Customer Experiences

    Experiential retail is a wonderful opportunity for brands and retailers to drive shopper engagement with innovation, storytelling, and omnichannel commerce experiences. Experiential shopping will continue to evolve as buyers evolve — and the demand for new and exciting experiences will also continue to grow. 

    The Complete Guide to Omnichannel Strategy for Commerce

    Download our guide for insights into omnichannel commerce, including how to build a winning digital shelf strategy.


    Written by: Salsify

    Salsify drives results for customers worldwide, empowering them to win on the digital shelf.

    Recent Posts

    Subscribe to the Below the Fold Newsletter

    Standing out on the digital shelf starts with access to the latest industry content. Subscribe to Below the Fold, our monthly content newsletter, and join other commerce leaders.

    The Complete Guide to Omnichannel Strategy for Commerce Download our guide for insights into omnichannel commerce, including how to build a winning digital shelf strategy. DOWNLOAD NOW