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Carly Wickham, Head of Marketing

In our recent whitepaper entitled Compelling Experiences, we’ve looked at why customers crave these experience and how brands and retailers can satisfy them.

In particular, we’ve cited the idea of specialism, and how that can be used to create a sense of belonging.

The dictionary definition of the word ‘belonging’ is full of warmth and inclusion. Belonging; be·long·ing (bĭ-lông′ĭng, -lŏng′-) Acceptance as a natural member or part: a sense of belonging. Synonyms are; comfortableness, a feeling of being at ease in a relationship; or happiness, emotions experienced when in a state of well-being.

All these attributes are much coveted by brands desiring deeper relationships with their customers. And, in trying to achieve such goals, retailers are becoming ever more inventive. Here are some current examples to provide inspiration.


Paperchase, the specialist stationery retailer, has started running crafting workshops in its flagship stores as part of its ‘Treat Me’ loyalty programme. Classes run by trained crafters provide an ‘antidote’ to people’s obsession with technology. They’re also an excellent way to bond with the brand.


Inclusion & belonging

Similarly, Decathlon’s approach to their store design and staffing is built on foundations of great customer experience through inclusion and belonging. Staff are trained, knowledgeable and interested in their sporting products. Their specialist knowledge is mapped against a store which encourages trial, participation, inclusion.


Apple, always seen as a leader in this field, is elevating its potential in this area, with 20% of the new Union Square store’s floor space devoted to educational rather than retail pursuits. “We are not just evolving our store design,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores, “but its purpose and greater role in the community.” This is best seen in the introduction of The Plaza. Situated behind the store and open to the public 24 hours a day. Visitors to The Plaza have access to free Wi-Fi, seating and music performances handpicked by Apple.


Specialism and its ability to create a sense of belonging were just one of six insights we investigated. To find out how the other five can influence the way in which your retail space is designed to maximise the ability to connect, engage and provide experiences for your customers, please download the report now.

compelling experiences whitepaper insight report