March 2019

Hey Retailer, do something and win

It’s likely impossible to have a bigger selection than Amazon or cheaper prices than Walmart, but retailers can win with a unique in-store experience. From simple classes to immersive retail residences, retailers can carve out a niche the big boys can’t match by enticing customers with the promise of doing something in store. And it’s what today’s consumers really want. A recent Harris Group study found 72% of Millennials prefer to spend money on doing things rather than buying things. Here’s how some brands are creating a living space, not just a purchasing place, in-store.

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Challenger brands have managed to gain traction against their dominant competitors through retail experiences. Microsoft has managed to pull young consumers out of Apple stores with the addictive lure of Microsoft Fortnite Fridays, hosted evenings where kids can play Fortnite with friends unfettered by nagging parents. Reebok’s La Salle De Sport in Paris engages athletes with a branded space that blurs the line between store and gym.

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Lululemon was an early-adopter of the in-store experience hosting free yoga classes and now they’re venturing into relaxation pods for meditation. Casper’s Dreamery in NYC takes it to another level. It’s not a store, rather a spa for naps. You book a 45-minute nap and nestle into your own sleep pod equipped not only with a Casper bed (with Casper bedding, naturally), but also with free toiletries, luxury sleepwear, and cold brew upon waking.

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Retailers are also taking the stay and play concept even further by creating retail residences. RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) is incorporating coffee bars, wine vaults and restaurants into their galleries (formerly known as stores). And opening their first boutique hotels, RH Guesthouse, in Manhattan and Aspen, following in the footsteps of IKEA, Gucci and other retailers turned hoteliers. These are definitely experiences you can’t replicate online.

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Finally, in the age of social media, retailers need to imagine their store as a backdrop for Instagram. Color Factory and Museum of Ice Cream are testament to the lengths we will go for a good ‘gram. Tiffany’s let consumers literally have breakfast at Tiffany’s and L’Occitane’s 5th Avenue store transports you to an idyllic bike ride through Provence - all styled and framed for a great Insta.

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So hey retailer, it’s not just about buying, it’s also about doing in today’s retail stores. From simple classes to immersive overnights, create an experience that can’t be had online. And frame it all to be easily shared on social.

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