Experiential retail is the future. For years we’ve heard about the decline of physical retail and the rise of the internet. However, the desire for retail experiences is on the rise with 52% millennials saying of their spending goes on experience-related purchases. This introduces the concept of ‘retailtainment’.
Because of this, retailers have evolved their offerings. By focusing on so-called ‘ retailtainment’ and immersive retail experiences, brands are able to provide customers with fun, unique and in-person experiences that elevate shopping to new heights.
With retailtainment, the retail industry is shifting attention from a features-and-benefits approach to a focus on immersive shopping and customer experience. To be successful, retailers must offer consumers a desirable retail experience that in turn drives sales.
Here are our favourite examples of Experiential Retail in action:
1. Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is an experience store based on the global box-office film franchise, Marvel’s The Avengers. In cooperation with the greater group, the pop-up shop was officially launched in New York in June 2014. The store is located in the bustling Times Square, placing it right in the middle of all the action. This concept store is a first for Marvel Entertainment and was created in collaboration with Brand Licensing Worldwide and Victory Hill Entertainment Group.
The store is part of a 10, 000 square foot replica exhibit of the Avengers S.H.I.E.L.D. set, using a combination of real life movie props and cutting-edge interactive technology. From initial design to final installation, it took about six weeks to finish this store.
This is a prime example of successful implementation of experiential retail. In an experience like no other, customers, or ‘civilians’, who visited the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. are immersed in a fictional world. After completing the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Training, civilians enter the experience store where a range of limited edition uniforms and other merchandise items are on sale to prepare them for returning to the ‘real world’.
This entertainment concept store has proven incredibly successful and plans are underway to establish a more permanent location for it in Las Vegas.
2. Galaxy Harajuku
Samsung, a client of greater group, recently launched Galaxy Harajuku, the largest Galaxy showcase store to date, located in the popular Harajuku shopping neighbourhood in Tokyo. The store was opened exactly 500 days before the launch of Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics, highlighting Galaxy’s involvement as a global partner of this event (Samsung functions under the name ‘Galaxy’ in the Japanese market).
The store presents an entertaining, interactive space powered by the methods of experiential retail. The generous implementation of technology ensures visitors never experience a dull moment. On the first floor, customers are welcomed by a massive LED screen where Galaxy displays its latest smart products. A cafe with wooden features and a clean cut design is installed on the next floor, creating a relaxed space for shoppers to kick back and enjoy a cup of coffee. The third floor features an interactive exhibition of Galaxy’s history and outlining the brand’s current relation to other global partners. The store’s remaining floors are occupied by more interactive installations, video games and product exhibitions.
3. STORY at Macy’s
STORY at Macy’s is a narrative-driven retail experience by the American department store, Macy’s, in partnership with brands like MAC Cosmetics, Crayola, Levi’s Kids and more than 70 other small businesses.
Story initially started as a unique retail store who operated on the idea of renewing its stock according to different themes every few months. Themes like ‘Love’, ‘Remember When’ and ‘Holidays’ acted as guidelines for every new wave of products. After seven years in business, Story was acquired by Macy’s in 2018 and relaunched as STORY at Macy’s.
This experiential retail based concept now blows new life into the 36 Macy’s stores nationwide. Story founder Rachel Shechtman designed the store as medium of creative discovery. Now integrated with Macy’s, customers are given a new reason to engage with the brand and to come back on regular occasions to explore the latest exciting additions to the store.
According to Shechtman, who now serves as Macy’s brand experience officer, the goal of STORY at Macy’s is to create a real life version of scrolling through Instagram where customers will always be amazed at what they find.
- Experiential retail aims to provide an out-of-the-box experience to customers.
- One of the reasons experiential retail developed is to adapt to customers’ changing needs as a result of the spurt in online retail.
- The goal of experiential retail isn’t necessarily to sell products or to profit from a service, but rather to promote the public’s perception of the brand.
- When an experiential retail concept store or pop-up is ‘Instagram-cool’, digital marketing will be doing itself.
- Creating one-of-a-kind experiences will strengthen company-consumer relations and solidify customers’ loyalty to the brand in the future.
- When applicable to the specific brand, digital technology can effectively provide entertainment to customers as long as it is implemented correctly.
- Experiential retail methods can facilitate the ideal middle ground between online and traditional storefront retail.