Everyone talks about how shopping needs to become more experiential to lure consumers, but some retailers are grasping this concept better than others. Here, a handful of retailers (and non-retailers acting as retailers) that got it right in 2017. All captured the experiential feel by putting the following concepts into action: Ah-Ha Moments, Surprise & Delight Experiences, and Intagrammable Concepts. Because, if it’s not on Instagram, did it even happen?
TIFFANY & CO
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S: This is such a no-brainer, it’s a wonder this wasn’t done decades ago to riff off the 1961 film classic. Maybe the jewelry house was just waiting for Reed Krakoff to take the helm as Creative Director and mix things up a bit with the Blue Box Café. His line of tabletop and homewares dipped in that famous hue of Tiffany-blue upped the modern quotient, and the café has been attracting tourists and locals alike (not an easy feat in New York City). Besides, who wouldn’t post a selfie of themselves bathed in Tiffany Blue?
KITH x NIKE
WOULD YOU LIKE CEREAL WITH THAT? Hip brand Kith has teamed up with Nike for in-store cafes featuring cereal bars with shoebox-like bowls, ice cream bars with crushed cereal soft serve mix-ins and more. It’s a nostalgic treat for the taste buds that appeals to adults who want to be kids again.
MARLA AARON AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM
VENDING MACHINE JEWELRY: Museums have always had gift shops full of innovative items, but never has one taken the lead on an innovative ways to sell them. The Brooklyn Museum broke the mold when it put out a vending selling Marla Aaron’s jewelry. “We created this vending machine as a new way to deliver an unlikely experience for our customers–to find our jewelry in a place where they would not normally find it,” said Aaron. “The Brooklyn Museum’s motto’s is Great Art and Great Art Experiences so the opportunity to present the collection at one of the most important cultural institutions in New York is an extraordinary one,” said Aaron.
ARTISTS AND FLEAS
THEY (HEART) CONFETTI: Artists and Fleas makes the grade for experiential retailing on its own, as retail emporiums increasingly appeal to shoppers with their rotating assortment of leased brands. But the bi-coastal concept retailer continues to wow with in-store events on varying scale. In 2017, events included everything from the month-long Leather Lounge sponsored by Hobo Bags to artisan projects like Textile Arts workshops, Confetti Project selfie photo ops, or Signs of Hope post-it installation art. It’s all fun, interactive, emotional and meaningful.
RETAIL ON WHEELS: Why should consumers go to a store when a store can go to them? Hong Kong brand hello Kitty had a West Coast and an East Coast roving Hello Kitty Cafe Truck, and consumers kept track of where they would be via social media. Keeping with the sweet treats craze, the truck offered more than just giftable and wearable merchandise.
MARIE CLAIRE MAGAZINE POP UP
THE NEXT BIG THING: Waning ad pages have forced magazines to embrace everything from e-commerce to retail solutions, and Marie Claire took this to the next level with its Manhattan pop-up. Here, Marie Claire, Neiman Marcus and Mastercard teamed up for New York City pop-up shop, The Next Big Thing. The store was open to the public for a limited time last Fall in SoHo, featuring “a first-to-market, hands-on retail pop-up experience bringing to life the newest innovations in fashion, beauty, entertainment, technology and wellness.”
PRODUCE & PRODUCT: No story on experiential retailing is complete without a shout-out to STORY, which produces more than half a dozen new stories a year. But FRESH stood out for the perfect recipe to mixing food and fashion!