I used to think that growing up on a cul-de-sac of 15 homes and 35 kids was a strategic decision on my parent’s part to get us out to play daily – and that “play” consisted of freeze tag into the dark hours or doing cartwheels from my house to the corner. As an adult, “play” is really just one form of entertainment in a hard day’s work. As consumers, it is increasingly becoming the main reason to explore new brands and products.
Retail continues to morph with multi-channel retail pushing consumer spending into new channels…and “Showrooming” has been a growing concern of many retail doors – a place where customers can see, touch, and learn about products then search online to purchase (often for less money). The traditional role of brick and mortar stores has shifted (and will continue to shift) dramatically, becoming retail “venues” and a hybrid experience (merging online/real world), not just simply a place of purchase.
The key for future stores is to engage with consumer communities – both in terms of locality and interests – to unlock its full potential. New store formats should complement customers desire to play by becoming product playgrounds, sensoriums and learning centers. Brand dialog, learning and entertainment are prioritized over pushing UPT’s (units per transaction). Pop up stores are a great example of this (check out MINI pop up in London). Don’t worry. if customers like you long enough to linger – and even play/engage, they are likely to come back again and again…perhaps via mobile phone while checking out other retailers. If you are really good at engaging them, they may even do a cartwheel or two.
Note: Mini Pop Up was designed by Berlin based Studio 38 in cooperation with Mark Bendow Interior Environments and Farmer Int..