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Surprise and Delight With Retail Pop-up

POSTED ON: 06/01/17 Retail surprise and delight

Surprise and Delight sound like the names of a couple of pampered Pomeranian lapdogs. Or a pair of exotic dancers. The words – surprise and delight – can also refer to a mandate for retail pop-up.

Shoppers are thrill-seekers. As much as people find routines comforting, many crave unexpected moments. Those simple but heartfelt interactions (perhaps a pop-up featuring Pomeranians and exotic dancers?) can brighten an entire day. When a positive moment surprise a shopper, the experience is likely to be one she remembers and shares.

One of the most powerful marketing strategies a retailer can leverage is surprise and delight. They play on the strong emotions and memories that can be created through unanticipated happiness. When brands cut through the predictability of everyday life and offer a unique, shared moment – like a pop-up – they generate increased loyalty and customer retention. This, in turn, bolsters the bottom line.

Are surprise and delight worth the investment?

According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), surprise and delight is among the most effective marketing tools because it plays to some very basic truths about human nature. Scientists at Emory University and Baylor University found that surprise is addictive.

Researchers tested subjects to see how they would react in response to a sequence of pleasurable stimuli in the form of fruit juice and water. Subjects received tastes of each liquid, with some subjected to a predictable pattern and others experiencing one that was random. When scientists looked at the MRIs, those who got juice at unpredictable moments had a stronger response than those who knew when it was coming. Dr. Read Montague, a professor of neuroscience at Baylor, said that results show people are “designed to crave the unexpected.”

Additionally, the HBR piece asserts that surprise is a powerful tool for driving desired behavior, as it introduces people to new stimuli. This encourages learning, which can result in shoppers being more receptive to buying new products and upgrading services. Instead of shaping marketing campaigns around what needs to be said to convince consumers to take a certain action, it may be more effective to think in terms of what these individuals would see as predictable. And then do something that will turn those expectations on their heads.

The HBR also noted that surprise and delight can create more passionate relationships. Citing an experiment conducted among middle-aged married couples, results showed that when people enjoy activities they see as exciting or out of the ordinary, they develop stronger bonds with one another. Retailers can keep the spark in their shopper relationships alive by focusing on customer retention through thrilling and unexpected tactics.

Surprise and delight create good buzz.

Another reason why surprise and delight marketing is effective is that it plays into the dynamics of current online culture. Going viral is now critical, and unexpectedness is usually a major component of videos and images that achieve viral status.

Smart retail brands will use authentic, ownable gestures of kindness, compassion, humor and humanity to surprise and delight. And, ultimately, drive big buzz. But it is important to remember that truly surprising and delightful moments are not about rewarding shoppers for liking a brand on Instagram. It goes beyond free gifts, contests and samples. Surprise and delight are about focusing on selective yet random acts (like a pop-up). Astonish the shopper so that she must share the special moment with her friends.

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