There are few retail brand immersion experiences that ENGAGE the customer like an Apple store.  You are greeted by a “Concierge” and invited to touch everything that isn’t breathing.  All their producuts are openly displayed and you are encouraged to ask questions, to play, and to aspire.  Nothing is locked away.  It is OK to just be there.  They invite you to ENGAGE at every level.

You cross into the ENGAGE phase of the customer experience from the moment you enter a business and actively connect on any level.  This is the third of the five phases of an experience.

ENGAGE: The ENGAGE phase of the customer journey is the part we historically know best.  It is when the customer is actively engaged with business, its products, its services and its personnel.  Traditionally, this is when the customer is physically in the business doing what they came to accomplish (e.g. inquire about services, make a purchase, have an item repaired, etc.)

Businesses need to use this phase to ENGAGE the customer appealing to all of their senses.  They can stimulate the customer through human interaction, through captivating processes, or physical amenities.  This is the opportunity to stage the engaging encounter that they enticed the customer to come experience.  The primary objective is to build and maintain a “connection” with the customer.  Without this connection, they are less likely to purchase, return, or continue to aspire.

There is a wide range of ways in which to engage the customer.  Apple does it through interactive product displays and soft-sell product specialists.  All of their devices are all openly displayed, and in-store Wi-Fi lets customers have full-range, hands-on product experiences.  There are Genius Bars for technical support and now most stores have an in-store theater for group product presentations.  There are multiple experiences within the one store making the ENGAGE phase that much richer.

The male at play. John Atcheco from Glendenning gets to grips with the latest man news in IKEA'S chap-Chreche. Picture: Charles Brewer

IKEA has taken ENGAGE one step further to include the NON-customer.  In a recent 4-day test in Australia, an IKEA store in Sydney tested the idea of having a “play space” for bored husbands and boyfriends.   Their logic was just as play areas entertain children so parents can spend more time engaged in shopping, perhaps the same would work with the guys.  This may not work for your business, but is there a similar application for caregivers in a physician’s office?  Or for the owners in a pet grooming shop?

Think of your own business and how you engage your customers:

  • Do your products or services feel accessible when guests arrive?
  • Is everyone fully engaged?
  • Are you engaging all of your customer’s senses?
  • Are you offering multiple experiences within your one business?