Coming Soon- “Experience Economy”

Posted 5 December 2018 / 1 minute read time

For years now, brick and mortar retailers have been losing customers to online shopping. All you have to do is drive down a main street or past a mall and see all those vacant storefronts to realize the affect online shopping has had on them.
But the battle isn’t over yet. Today’s retail locations are combining art, design, commerce, digital technology, and consumer psychology to create a more exciting in-store shopping experience. It’s called, “Retail Theater” and causing an “experience economy”.

Now, instead of just being a place stocked with products to sell, retailers are making their locations more experiential for the consumer. Creating a shopping experience so exciting and memorable consumers will actually want to put down their smart phone and make the trip to shop at a physical store.
Shoppers’ desire for a remarkable branded shopping experience is revolutionizing the way retailers deliver brand propositions.

A perfect example is Maytag. Yes, Maytag. They created over 50 interactive retail locations that encourage consumers to actually bring their dirty dishes, laundry, even food items into the store and take a “test-drive” of the new top-of-the-line Maytag appliances. Displayed in kitchen and laundry room vignettes, these ready-to-use appliances let customers experience how a product works rather than just listen to a canned sales pitch. And since busy parents usually have their kids in tow when shopping, wider aisles, brighter decor, and kid’s play areas help make these locations even more inviting.

Burberry, the NBA stores, Nike, even Cadillac, are using technology like augmented reality, mobile connectivity, and digital screens and LED displays of both moving and static imagery to enhance their product delivery. Immersing consumers in an audiovisual brand experience that brings the visual excitement of the online world into the retail space.
Of course, you don’t have to be a retail giant or have a huge budget to create retail theater. According to Chad Gieseke, director of visual merchandising at Mud Pie Gifts, “The techniques used in a theatrical production can translate into dramatic retail spaces as well. Compare a store environment to the acts of a play, in which the products are the characters and display areas are the stories. Create smooth transitions and flow by using unifying elements like rugs and interesting lighting to create a home-like experience. Customers linger longer in comfortable, hospitable stores.”

In the end, the one thing to remember about creating retail theater is that shoppers want to see, feel, touch, taste, and interact with a product before they buy. In this new “experience economy”, it’s not enough to have salespeople walking around trying to sell a product. Store environments need to create an emotional experience.

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