Advertising Shopping Interactive

Putting the fun back into high street shopping

By James Hale | Group Creative Director

Lick Creative


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June 12, 2018 | 5 min read

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.

Black Friday's reach is beginning to dominate the festive period

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


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.

Splash by Topshop

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.

Concierge service by John Lewis

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.

Dr Martens' personalised experience


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.

Samsung's most experiential outlet to date


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.

Uniqlo's unlock Utopia event


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.

Nike's 'retailtainment'

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.

Rebecca Minkoff, pioneer of the connected-store concept

James Hale is group creative director at Lick Creative

Advertising Shopping Interactive

Content by The Drum Network member:

Lick Creative

Lick Creative is a multiple award-winning shopper marketing agency. We provide the full spectrum of in store marketing solutions designed to help retailers and brands engage shoppers, improve customer experience and ultimately catalyse sales. With our unparalleled experience, insights and analysis we help clients to connect with shoppers at every touch point in their shopper journey.

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