Experiential Retail

It’s time to get physical

Kara Melchers

Managing Editor, BITE Creativebrief


Experiential Retail: It’s time to get physical

Visit and ‘Inspiration’ is the portal to a new Body Studio. It’s also a key theme that follows through the entire in-store experience. Body Studio is the latest campaign from the famous department store to push the boundaries of retail. In the past the store has responded to cultural trends by commissioning temporary installations, including a Silence Room to encourage mindfulness and a skate park to celebrate the influence of street style. This latest project puts our obsession with body image right in the face of the shopper. Diverse and visionary images of women are used through all of the marketing comms and right into the store itself.

Selfridge’s has successfully taken a more holistic view of their customer and created a physical experience that goes beneath the surface of the clothes. Body Studio is the combination of Bodywork, a pop-up space to ‘explore the future of fitness through euphoric workouts’, and Bodytalk, a series of talks by experts debating the meaning of ‘wellness’, hosted in the new Hemsley + Hemsley Café.

Inspired by a collective passion for sport, adidas Berlin has opened Runbase. This new retail concept is built around the personal development of running, nutrition, knowledge, gear and physical health. At the heart is a running club with a bonus scheme that unlocks rewards based on personal fitness goals. This gives members access to additional nutritional plans, running experts and physiotherapeutic services.

In both of these examples the retail experience has been designed for the customer, not the product. Built around a more holistic view of the shopper, the store has become more than simply a destination to buy clothes.

Read on for examples…

Nike Air Max Brings Willy Wonka Style To China

Each year Nike celebrate Air Max Day. This year to mark the occasion, Nike China shouted their love for the sneaker by staging the largest ever international celebration. They took sneaker lovers on a unique and immersive journey through the evolution of the iconic design, right in the heart of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Fringe Club was transformed into a Willy-Wonka-style behind the scenes glimpse of Nike’s infamous Innovation Kitchen, the research lab at Nike HQ in Oregon.

An inside-out design was constructed of pipes and funnels in bright primary colours, all relating to the heritage of Air Max and the ‘Visible Air’ concept.

Customer interaction was key. The NIKEiD experience was given a boost with technology that could 3D projection-map customised designs onto a physical product. The in-store experience was rolled out into the streets through a city-wide sneaker hunt competition.

Nike’s Shanghai flagship store also received the Air Max treatment, including moving kinetic windows, a NIKEiD studio and an interactive voting experience where customers could bring back their favourite Air Max model.

Agency: Rosie Lee, London

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Sephora's Connected Beauty Boutique

At the end of 2015 Sephora opened their first connected beauty store Sephora Flash, a concept that blends beauty and technology. The Paris boutique combines physical and digital shopping. Online and in-store items can be paid for together, and delivered directly to the customer’s home. NFC connected perfume bottles can be used with digital screens to provide an extra level of product information. The Flash Bar is equipped with a large selfie mirror, mobile phone charger, and a ‘Mini Beautic’, the smart sampler developed in-house by the brand’s Sephora Lab.

Agency: StartJG, London

Zaha Hadid Apartments Sold As Art

Located in Chelsea, New York, 520 West 28th is Zaha Hadid’s first permanent building in the city. The 39 luxury apartments make an indelible mark on Manhattan’s skyline and are a permanent legacy to the late architect. A visionary sales experience was required to mirror the progressive design. The showroom is set up as a gallery, transforming potential buyers into ‘collectors’, and putting them in the mindset of purchasing the work of an artist. Interactive touchscreens detail building information, and a theatre plays an immersive film.

Agency: Mother Design, New York

Samsung's New Technology Playground

Located in New York City’s Meatpacking District, Samsung 837 is described as a ‘technology playground and cultural destination’. Customers can’t purchase a single Samsung product anywhere inside the 55,000-foot space.

At the heart of the building is a massive theatre for Samsung to host events whilst simultaneously demonstrating the power of their screens. There’s a gallery space for specially commissioned, technology-based art. A VR Tunnel lets visitors try out Samsung Gear, and a living room and kitchen showcase the latest connected products.

Agency: Black Egg, New York

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