As we know, retail brands, from cosmetics to athletic apparel, are utilizing their stores in order to provide today’s consumers with the immersive experiences they’re craving. Shoppers are demanding personalized experiences even more these days, and the successful retailers are responding by engaging their senses with the latest technology.
Athletic giants, Nike and Adidas are just one of the more recent examples. Nike’s new 55,000-square foot store in SoHo is filled with much more than merchandise; equipped with a half court for basketball, a 400-square foot soccer trial zone and simulated treadmills for testing shoes, the new store allows customers to experience the full effect of products before they’re purchased. Nike’s mobile app gives shoppers the opportunity to book individual appointments with experts to assist them with sports trials and customizing their own athletic gear.
Adidas’ slightly smaller 45,000-square foot flagship store in Midtown features a “stadium retail concept,” as Claire Midwood, Adidas VP of Concepts, describes it. The layout is similar to a sports arena with a tunneled entrance, locker rooms for testing gear and trial zones for football, basketball and soccer. The company hopes that the Midtown store, as well as its other metropolitan locations, will spread brand awareness throughout the United States. Sporting brands, however, aren’t the only ones revamping their stores.
French cosmetics company, L’Occitane, is hoping to make its own impact in New York City with a new flagship location in the Flatiron district. L’Occitane’s efforts focus on the fact that, in today’s world, customization is the key for beauty. The “Smart Beauty Fitting Room” provides customers with a private and personalized digital platform for browsing and sampling products. The Flatiron store also offers personal concierge services to clients seeking one-on-one consultations with L’Occitane’s beauty experts. Through the combination of modern technology and human connection, L’Occitane is successfully launching itself into the new immersive era of retail.
Ralph Lauren created a digital fitting room experience with the introduction of interactive touch-screen mirrors in their flagship location in New York. While in the fitting room, shoppers can browse through real-time store inventory, interact with a sales associate, and can request a different color or size in an item, all through the touch-screen mirror. Customers can also take full control of fitting room lighting, ranging from settings like “Fifth Ave Daylight” to “Evening at The Polo Bar.” The mirror also auto-generates suggested items to complete the look based on what’s being tried on, which is a great opportunity to personalize item recommendations and to cross-sell. For those shoppers who aren’t quite ready to commit to their purchase, the mirror can text the details of their merchandise so they have time to mull it over. This also creates a lingering interaction with the brand, and offers the perfect opportunity for Ralph Lauren to follow up with customers long after they’ve left the store.
These are just a few examples of how big brands are increasing creating immersive retail experiences. We think that customers expectations will rise as more brands jump on the experiential retail trend, making it even more important to explore what digital technology can do for you.
“How Sporting Giants Nike and Adidas Are Pushing the Future of Retail” by John Kell
“Beauty Retailer Opens Experiential Store in New York City” by Gina Acosta