Immersive shopping has been on the rise in the retail industry for the better part of the last half decade. With more consumers opting to shop online, retailers are having to pull out the stops to encourage their customers to visit their brick-and-mortar stores again. While it’s hard to beat the comfort of the couch, leading retailers have figured out the solution to bringing back traditional retail: Micro-Experiences.
Retailers like Foot Locker, Matches Fashion, Glossier, and Canada Goose are shaping the way that consumers shop in-store. By immersing the senses and heightening the value of customer experience, these retailers have entered the hearts and minds of their shoppers. Let’s dive into what makes each of these unique retailers leaders in the fashion and beauty industries.
Foot Locker’s “Power Store” debuted in late spring of 2019 with the Nike Plus “Unlock Box.” The box, a fashion-forward vending machine, allows loyal Nike Plus shoppers to redeem free and exclusive items as a thank you for maintaining a strong relationship with the brand. The Power Store also features “Nike Plus at Retail,” which provides personalized content, exclusive access to products, and services like Nike Scan to learn and check inventory, and reserve online and pickup in-store.
MATCHES Fashion, a high-end fashion retailer for men and women, partnered with Frieze, an art that became one of the art world’s best-known brands, encompassing an empire of four international art fairs, three publications, events and course programming, and frieze.com, an essential online destination for art lovers. In their partnership, Matches Fashion and Frieze created immersive art projects and films, pop-ups from creative enterprises, non-profits, magazines, restaurants and bars, hosted guests in two Private Shopping suites and invited visitors to browse its curated-for-the-fair store. They even hosted panel talks, live recordings of The Collector’s House podcast and live installations. Panel guests included tattoo artist Dr. Woo, The Elder Statesman designer Greg Chait, filmmaker, artist and writer Liz Goldwyn, jewellery designer Daniela Villegas, florist and perfumer Eric Buterbaugh, film producer Jenn Nkiru and celebrity and costume designer Arianne Phillips. ‘We want 5 Carlos Place at Frieze to feel like you are being invited to the ultimate collector’s house where we can host and entertain you, have original conversations and create memorable experiences,’ says Jess Christie, chief brand officer of MATCHES FASHION.
As arguably the most well-known and respected newcomer in the beauty industry, Glossier’s famous millennial pink storefront is a breeding ground for selfies galore. Although known for their pop up stores, their traditional brick-and-mortar locations steal the show with their pink walls, selfie stations, pampering services to try products, and overall virality.
Canada Goose, an extreme weather outfitter famous for their puffer jackets, recently opened a new storefront in New Jersey that features their “Cold Room.” Shoppers are encouraged to step into the -13° room to test various Canada Goose styles and accessories.
While these brands are paving the way for the fashion and beauty industries, the grocery industry can still learn a lot from them. Here are some key takeaways from each retailer with a twist positioned for the grocery industry:
The Nike Plus “Unlock Box” meant to encourage brand loyalty with a hyper-local personalized twist is a great example of a way to showcase your local communities tastes in a way that makes them feel exclusive. Consider ways that you can reward shoppers while still supporting your local community – perhaps by giving away free, full-sized samples from local farmers once shoppers reach a certain reward threshold.
MATCHES and Frieze created the art fanatic’s dream by hosting a series of events and opportunities to better understand the brand’s mission and intent. Consider taking a page from Metcalfe’s Market’s book and hosting a series of in-store events aimed at what foods are in season like their Battle of the Salsas, or something more personal like an event where shoppers can put together a box of food that will be donated to a local food bank or pantry.
While it isn’t practical to completely redesign your store to look more trendy and Instagram worthy, consider showcasing artwork from local artists or hiring a local painter to create a beautiful mural outside of your store.
Most grocers already have a “cold room” (aka, the beer fridge), so consider taking the settings of your food up a notch. You could redesign an artisan cheese section to feel like a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin, create an in-store garden to show how farmers grow your local produce, or make your floral section feel like a jungle with plants and petals galore.
Creating an immersive shopping experience is easy once you let yourself open up to the idea of turning a functional grocery store into an experiential playground. Micro-Experiences exist to elevate and delight the shopping experience. What will your next one be?