What do Chicago’s Marbles the Brain Store, Hershey’s Store, American Girl and now the upcoming Google Flagship store in Chicago’s West Loop (my hood), have in common? According to Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore of the bestselling book, The Experience Economy, they are a big part of what they call “The Experience Economy.”
Pine and Gilmore add that almost nowhere else in the world is there such a powerful aggregation of this economy. It’s clear that by developing richer experiences, especially in retail where people gather regularly, we would see strong growth opportunities.
Seth Godin, considered to be one of the best marketers in the world and a bestselling author, has said through the years that bookstores should be “hubs or connectors.” I couldn’t agree more. I’ve also seen bookstores as the best place for these hubs. I believe they are the ultimate connection centers! How about you?
In The Experience Economy the authors further prove that the more valuable connection and engagement you are able to create in a physical space, in this case, the more people will pay those experiences. For example, take the million dollar investment Mark Cuban made on “Shark Tank” for a company that puts on weekend Apocalypse experiences. There is no question that experience is the best pathway to bigger profits and sustainability, especially if the experiences keep getting better and better over time.
So What’s the Next Evolution of Retail?
It’s all about embedding the art and science of networking into your customer experience. Take the new Capital One Cafes. Here’s how their unique new stores are marketed:
“We have Ambassadors. They’re here to answer your questions about Capital One accounts, Café events, or last night’s big game. No appointment necessary.” and “Our Cafés are inviting places where you can bank, plan your financial journey, engage with your community, and enjoy Peet’s Coffee.®”
Their compelling invitation to “engage with your community” is the strategic leverage point for success. Here, if leveraged smartly, through someone skilled at networking, in the case of Capital One, a concierge, is the missing element that will create retail of the future.
A Vision of Bookstores, Authors, Networking and Lifelong Learning?
Over the last nine years, I’ve turned my own author platform, focused on books I’ve written on networking and leadership, to shift to helping more than 100 authors create, publish, and launch their own thought leader books. Now, as my top value is making a difference, I have found that I can make an even greater difference by helping my authors with their respective networks giving me reach into the tens of thousands.
The retail store of the future I keep dreaming about includes:
- Authors who will teach and mentor you those wishing to grow their careers faster and better.
- Concierge who help you grow a sustainable career plan.
- An evolving community of people matched to your interests who can also help you grow your career/business.
- A place you go back to again and again, creating new opportunities and connections each time you visit.
This center will provide ongoing networking and learning opportunities people looking for connection and direction in their careers. For every paid learning session, we will provide one gratis learning session to a student in need. Sessions will be focused on social media literacy and entrepreneurial mentoring.
I’ve been dreaming of this connection-learning place for more than 10 years now. It’s the holiday season that brings about a mystical, magical environment that I can feel my dream being made in the wings, just waiting to be birthed.
What’s Your Dream?
Do you have a dream that’s waiting in the wings of your heart and mind? Just as I wish you would sprinkle a little fairy dust on my dream, I’ll do the same for you. Many of you have shared your dreams with me this year. In turn, I’ve wished for you with all my heart that your dream comes true. Keep sharing your dreams with those you know will do the same as I love to do — be there for you and help you as much as I can.
As always, here’s to your success!