I have never been one to spend a lot of time shopping for “stuff”; New experiences have always been a better investment.

Experiences are what spark the mind. I’m always gravitating toward opportunities that allow me to experience something new.

Therefore, one type of store has peaked my interest: “Experience Stores” (stores where you can try before you buy). They are popping up across the country and could be the savior for brick and mortar retail shops.

We have seen versions of these for a while. Customers can go into an Apple Store and spend hours playing on electronics they have on display and interact with the product experts. Patrons may not make a purchase that day; that’s a gamble Apple is willing to make because they know customers will be back – they want that experience.

Some companies are taking “experience stores” to the next level. A French based sporting goods store, Decathlon, just opened a store in San Francisco, and it has created the ultimate in experience shopping. The store is fitted with biking/skating aisles, basketball courts, even pools to try out fishing gear and paddle boards. Decathlon is merging a fitness center and a retail store into one unit but still maintains its retail identity.

The possibilities for experience stores are seemingly endless. Stores can give the appearance of a museum, such is the case with The Museum of Ice Cream (which is actually just a whimsical store, not a museum).  Automotive dealerships could have racetracks (virtual or real) for customers to use.

Experience stores can offer interaction with the product, product experts, and a physical location where customers want to spend time.

Things Amazon cannot!

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