Placemaking: Putting The “Experience” Back in Store Experience
Why would someone spend three days in the desert at Coachella listening to music they could otherwise get for free online? Doug Stephens (aka The Retail Prophet) recently opined that it’s because “people crave physical experiences.” “They go to be part of a living thing,” he said. He also believes the same can hold true for retail stores: “The true joy of a store is… being able to feel, taste, smell and experience products. Consumers have a “need to interact.”
Mike Lim, international retail space designer, made a similar pronouncement last fall in his speech on the evolution of shopping at the World Architecture Festival. Lim said, “People do not shop at malls for their needs or wants anymore. The shopping experience is now more emotional, spontaneous, creative, based on inspiration and the ‘surprise’ element.” Recalling how previous generations relied on the marketplace as a one-stop destination for day-to-day interaction, he championed mixed-use spaces. Lim believes adding in “amenities that the community needs” (whether that is cooking classes, playgrounds or offices) help to “inject life and vibrancy.” They draw in crowds and people become emotionally attached. Then, Lim added, “Your retail sales will go up once that captive audience is inspired to explore and wander.”
How can you create a more dynamic store experience? Here are five innovative ideas retailers are trying…
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