Today’s shopper demands authentic and meaningful experiences that add value to their lives and give them a sense of belonging, empowerment and wellbeing.

Brands enjoying success in this arena are doing so by taking customer experience to a deeper level in the form of masterclasses, enabling shoppers to learn from experts and get the most from the products they are buying.

Much can be gleaned from masterclass stalwarts who offer slick and captivating opportunities to customers looking for a chance to expand their knowledge and acquire new skills – and they will pay for the pleasure too.

The Jamie Oliver brand was an early adopter of this technique, inviting customers into specially kitted out stores to learn to cook and, ultimately, buy from the Jamie range of cookware and accessories.

Barbecue guru Weber runs a highly regarded grill academy, teaching students how to get the most from their outdoor cooking facilities and enabling them to take on more complex culinary tasks, for which they may well need further accessories from the Weber range, of course.

Hair aficionados GHD offers a range of workshops in salons around the country for those keen to learn the art of styling, blowdrying or up-dos.

Masterclasses take the consumer away from the shop floor and into an immersive learning space, giving them access to experts and the opportunity ask the questions they otherwise would not have had the chance to ask.

This tuition also greatly reduces the return rate on a product, especially if it has a complex setup and heavy user manual.

Obviously, masterclasses on location are simply not possible currently due to the social distancing measures imposed by the government in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The coronavirus pandemic has dealt the retail sector one of the heaviest blows with high street stores closed for business nationwide, and online retailers battling to keep up with demand.

Now the initial panic and flurry of activity has subsided a little, and brands of all sizes have settled into operating from kitchen tables, perhaps it is the time to take stock and make plans in a bid to come out fighting when restrictions are lifted and normal service is resumed.

The virus is expediting the inevitable changes in the way we shop, as brands are forced to push their products and experiences online and into the home more than ever before.

Thankfully, with technology at our fingertips, there are a myriad of ways to creatively use platforms to our advantage to grow brand loyalty and increase longevity.

And, while in lockdown, we are all longing for human contact so are actively seeking ways to satisfy that need through our devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While many celebrities and influencers have mastered the art of building their brand online over many years, more traditional retailers will now be feeling the pressure to take to the internet as an alternative means of connecting with their customers.

Already there are countless opportunities for consumers to enjoy experiences from the comfort of their own home such as hair and makeup tutorials, exercise classes, cookery demonstrations and wine-tasting masterclasses – often at no cost.

Competition is fierce and brands must now react accordingly in order to stand out.

John Lewis has pulled off a masterstroke in the wake of lockdown, offering online expert advice on personal styling, nursery and home design.

Shoppers can book one-to-one video appointments with stylists to discuss their fashion or interior decor needs, and the brand aims to expand on this service by making inspirational talks and learning sessions available too.

Virtual masterclasses are multi-functional as, not only do they support viewers through the buying process, ensuring they get the absolute most out of their purchase, they also build loyalty and, most importantly, community as the experiences can be shared.

These communities grow and bring people together as they connect through their discoveries and love for the products and brand.

YouTube channel Pixiwoo, where the audience can access a host of makeup and skincare tutorials, is an excellent example of how well this can work as their loyal audience of more than two million subscribers are part of a movement engaging with like-minded souls.

Whether online or physical, there is more than enough room in the market for both forms of masterclass when the pandemic subsides and life returns to relative normality.

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