Director of Marketing
Once upon a time, shopping was a practical function, not a leisure activity. In fact, most people considered it a chore (no doubt some still do!). Only the affluent with disposable income sought out purchases beyond their family’s essential needs. But then came the shopping mall — and ever since, social activity has been associated with shopping. Fast-forward a few decades and the internet has brought us back full circle to where purchases are once again just basic, efficient transactions.
Change is the only constant, right? So it’s not surprising we’re seeing new trends emerge that fly in the face of digital convenience. Pop-up shops, flash retailing and experiential marketing are pretty much the opposite of buying an inexpensive item on Amazon and having it delivered overnight. It’s all about the experience: anticipation, immersion and interaction. As Medallion Retail’s Bradley Daves explained in the second part of his blog series, it’s elevating the shopping experience to “retail theatre.”
Case in point: L’Occitane en Provence
In August 2018, L’Occitane en Provence, the French beauty company, opened a retail concept store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Known for its rich hand cream, skincare, body care and fragrance items, the retailer offers much more than those products at this location. In a Forbes article, Paul Blackburn, vice president concept design, construction and merchandising, North America, explained, “From eye-catching art form installations to integrated lifestyle products and enhanced fulfilment services, the ambiance and atmosphere will change throughout the life of the store with the goal to captivate the consumer’s attention, encourage engagement, and produce user-generated content for social media buzz.”
It’s clear that retailing is no longer just about visual merchandising … arranging products and creating a display. Retailers need to engage all of the senses and encourage consumers to share their experiences on social media. By doing this, they will help to differentiate their brand and their retail location, not only from digital retailers, but also from other brick-and-mortar stores.