In today’s retail arena, creativity and uniqueness are crucial, and brands everywhere are working hard to set themselves apart in the ever-evolving industry. The name of this game? Experiential retail. In a world where every next-best-thing is being launched seemingly every day, though, industry professionals beg the question: what does experiential retail really mean?
“...Humans are all different and they don't all want the same experience. That means retailers can't just pick one model and expect it to work in every real estate opportunity,” said Corinne Ruff of Retail Dive. “Big stores, small stores, pop-up shops, express stores, kiosks — all of them are essential to a retail fleet that complements all the ways in which customers can and want to interact with brands today.”
Earlier this month, retail design, experience and real estate executives met at a Miami-based conference to chat about the future of storefronts. A few shared elements of conversation surrounded the topics of localization, service and shareability. Localization-wise, it’s important for companies to know the culture and community surrounding their individual brick-and-mortar spaces, and utilizing design, architecture and aesthetic elements to reflect that. Naturally, these elements will make or break the store’s ability to be Instagrammed — or in layman’s terms — shareability. As for service, hospitality seems to be an art that continues to be timeless. Glitz and glamour aside, customers still expect real, raw, in-person customer service over robots and tech devices.
"I love technology and am an early adopter of all kinds of tech," saidKambiz Hemati, vice president of global retail design at Foot Locker, in an interview with Retail Dive. "...but I still believe if you had a store — and the environment is not great, the lighting is not great — and you put a shiny object or some sort of screen in the store, I don't think you're really helping anything. "