22 Aug Designing With You in Mind: The Wonders of Experiential Design in Retail
The pop-up had a line around the block. Target’s identifiable bullseye logo was the indicator of the partnership with the Museum of Ice Cream, an interactive museum with a permanent location San Francisco. Their unlikely visual collaboration brought us The Pint Shop, the interactive retail experience that bought new ice cream flavors directly to its customers. Upon entering, bright green, pink, yellow and blue pastel paint covered the walls. Set up to the right of the entrance were humongous Instagram worthy backdrops of each ice cream pint flavor. Whether you were a fan of bananas (Nana Banana), cherries (Cherrylicious) or vanilla diamonds (Vanillionaire), the Instagram worthy backdrops were made to be shown off and shared with friends.
To the left, viewers were encouraged to grab a bubblegum pink hand basket and get to shopping.
Brightly colored product likened to its specific ice cream flavor littered the shelves. Water bottles, keychains, totes, hats, crowns and other pastel-colored product were available for purchase. Not only will customer’s leave with a hip and trendy product but also a keepsake from a once-in-a-blue moon visual collaboration by one of America’s most popular retailers: Target.
This is a pint-sized (pun intended) example of experiential retail design brought to life. The Pint Shops’ temporary storefront was an immersive and memorable experience for those who wouldn’t have thought of ever setting foot in a place dedicated to America’s favorite dessert : ice cream.
Experiential retail constitutes more than the supply and demand of the product, it includes an experience that redefines the task of shopping. Given the increase in online sales, it has been noted that brick and mortar stores have decreased exponentially in the last ten years. Store interior design has implemented human experience into its floor plan and is adapting to the changing landscape of shopping spaces.
Consumers have enthusiastically engaged in the convenience of online purchases, with the upsurge in on-demand delivery provided by the likes of Amazon, the need to leave the home has become non-existent. The once necessary process that took up moments in the day has now been replaced with products that are delivered to our door at the click of a button.
However, what is a brand without a store? Since the beginning of the retail wave, the in-store experience promotes brand loyalty, human interaction, and a sensory experience that allows for consumers to touch and try out a potential purchase. Some stores are known for their signature architecture and spacious interior design. Nothing compares to walking up and down the shiny linoleum of spacious aisles, gazing up at high ceilings with intricately designed light fixtures as you shop in your favorite space.
Presently we are immersed in major changes on the retail front. What does the future of experiential retail design look like?
Prioritization of the human experience:
What does an immersive shopping experience entail? Many would say the full interaction with an environment that stimulates your senses and caters to your needs. Purchase decisions are solidified with an emotional connection before a credit card. Whether the decision to visit the store was based on a cool visual image via Instagram, brand loyalty or exclusive offers, the need to connect to consumers is prevalent.
Retail is more about selling a lifestyle rather than the actual product. Can you think of a brand you eat, sleep and breathe? Wellness and fitness brands like Lululemon and Outdoor Voices design there store to exemplify the brand in all of its glory. When you walk into a store the goal is to make you feel like you belong.
Taking note of the changing landscape within retail facilities and shopping centers, brick and mortars have found ways to enhance the customer experience by including digital aspects in store. By providing customers with options such as express inventory check and buy online to pick up in store options, businesses provide convenient methods that keep their customers happy and coming back!
That awesome printed wall or photo booth in a brand new store can really attract potential customers and show off your new products. A store with personality is a store worth being in. Doc Martens included a gif booth in their store that featured fun pics and personalized shoes!
Individualization and intimacy:
The shopping experience can be an intimate occasion. Intimate spaces, customized shopping experiences and privacy play a huge role in experiential design. In 2008, our very own firm designed a 5 story retail space on Madison Avenue for Pronovias, a Spanish luxury bridal wear company. Soft and beautiful the interior design which consists of a spiral stair is reminiscent of a flower. Each showroom is designed as a separate boutique, an intimate hideaway for friends and family during this very special and highly emotional time.
We may not know what the future will hold, but experiential retail design foretells a promising and insatiable time for customers who love an amazing shopping experience.