Putting the fun back into high street shopping

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Following on from his previous blog, James Hale, group creative director at Lick Creative looks at a variety of retailers are doing to ensure customer experience is converted into the all important sale.

Here, James looks are at some examples of the best innovations in retail experiential activations throughout 2017 and 2018.

Topshop

Topshop put on a summer long activation called Splash! This event cleverly combined experiences, stunts and pop-ups to engage, surprise and delight customers. One outstanding feature of their brand activation was a daring VR experience combined with a real in-store slide. To capture the imagination of visitors further was an immersive sensory summer experience that included the scent of sun lotion being pumped throughout the store. Plus, a special Snapchat filter, created to promote social sharing.

John Lewis

For their flagship Oxford Street store, John Lewis is aiming to offer a concierge-style shopping experience. This includes the introduction of a store ‘experience desk’ with the newly created position of a brand experience manager. The experience manager is on hand to help customers plan their visit. One fifth of the stores footprint has been dedicated to services and experiences, including: eye tests, personal styling, free tech training workshops, and the brand’s first express nail and brow bar. Exclusive events include a pop-up barbershop, make-up masterclass and home design styling.

Dr. Martens

In Camden, London Dr Martens created a flagship store with a fully personalised experience that emphasises the brands heritage and individual expression. Activations includes a VR station that takes visitors on a virtual tour of the brands original UK factory. Also, the store included a GIF booth for social sharing and a customisation zone, where customers can personalise a pair of DM’s.

Samsung

In Toronto, Canada Samsung has created the brands most experiential outlet to date. Store features include a kitchen with live demo’s that offer customers sampling taste tests, plus experiential zones for TV, GearVR and Gear360 categories.

Uniqlo

The Japanese giant Uniqlo recently opened a new store in Westgate, Oxford. The retailer, who has a reputation for hosting memorable in-store events, launched a number of PR-friendly activations including yoga mornings, mindfulness workshops, and tennis events for children. A good example was the brands ‘Unlock Utopia’ rooftop event at its flagship London store. Making people’s lives better is the brand’s LifeWear ethos and it’s this value that permeates all Uniqlo experiential initiatives.

NIke

The Nike New York store has to be one of the most outstanding examples of 'retailtainment’. The space bridges the gap between digital and physical platforms. This is no better achieved than in the Nike Basketball Trial Zone. Found on the stores fifth floor, the area devoted to the category comprises of half a court in size, with a 23-foot ceiling. Customers are invited to trial and test the basketball shoes on the court. High-definition screens that surround the area recreate famous neighbourhood courts, so fans can experience the closest thing to their sporting nirvana.

Rebecca Minkoff

When it comes to an immersive tech-infused store experience the latest innovations can be found at Rebecca Minkoff, pioneer of the connected-store concept. The brand’s Manhattan store features cutting edge versions of new and existing technologies, including smart mirrors, touch-screens and a RFID-powered table. All are carefully designed to enhance the customer experience. From interactive displays to personalised fitting rooms that feature mood lighting, shoppers are assisted to browse, order, try and purchase in one seamless experience.

James Hale is group creative director at Lick Creative

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.