In an ever competitive landscape both online and offline, retailers are upping their game to attract customers to their stores by creating more immersive and interactive experiences.
The success of initiatives including the Museum of Ice Cream and Refinery29’s 29Rooms, has resulted in brands understanding the power of experiential campaigns for engaging digital and social natives.
New York has become a hub for many such activations, and we’ve seen endless examples over the summer and fashion week season: everything from a seven-room “experience” at Winky Lux, to an interactive market that Calvin Klein created in partnership with Amazon Fashion.
More experiential stores are popping up this fall. We toured three that recently opened in Soho to check out how they’re upgrading the customer experience in a bid to compete for foot traffic and ultimately drive sales.
Cartier Parfums Pop-Up
From workshops to an art installation, the first-ever Cartier Parfums pop-up offers lots of activities to entice customers to step inside. This is part of the brand’s strategy to celebrate the launch of their new perfume: Carat, which is inspired by diamonds.
Upon walking in, shoppers are met with a colorful wall of mantras written on postcards, inscribed with phrases like “Reveal all the carats that shine through you” and “To live it all, you have to scent it all”. Visitors can send them to anywhere in the world for free. The store also has several of the brand’s iconic red jewelry boxes, which emit the scent of the perfumes when opened, offering an “olfactory journey”.
Flower workshops, hair styling, and even scented meditations are some of the experiences curated at the store – and they are free of charge. Taking place from Friday evenings to Sunday mornings, the activities need an RSVP.
The icing on the cake, however, is a multi-sensory light installation called Mille Facettes. Store-goers step into something that looks like the inside of a baguette-shaped diamond, in which a white light is diffused into a million facets of colors, plunging the visitor into the creative mind of the perfumer. The 90-seconds experience is also a beautiful background for an Instagram photo. In addition to that, visitors get a shareable image and a video over email.
Moncler’s House of Genius
Moncler’s new concept store looks like a modern art museum. It’s part of the brand’s Genius project, in which eight designers were invited to redesign Moncler’s signature down jacket. Selling genius collections exclusively, the store has eight spaces that each designer transformed into their own. All the rooms are numbered and unique, prompting curious shoppers to walk through them to see the different interactive designs.
Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli, one of the chosen designers, created a capsule collection for Moncler combining haute couture and skiwear. He took his inspiration from the renaissance period, so his space in the store displays mannequins similar to the ones seen in the Costume Institute exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Meanwhile, there is a space dedicated to the Grenoble collection, which is designed to be like the top of a ski slope, with angled mannequins that look ready to ski. There’s also Moncler’s “Yellow” collection, which is full of cult items like dog jackets – in the store they adorn statues of French bulldogs right at the entrance. Even though a typical Moncler jacket costs at least $1000, it’s easy to overlook this detail when a dog is welcoming you.
THE ARRIVALS Pop-Up
With the Holiday season in mind, NYC-based, digitally-native outerwear brand, THE ARRIVALS, has opened a pop-up in partnership with Dyson Supersonic. The concept is based on the intersection of where high-tech design and innovation meet functionality.
Earthy tone clothes are displayed against cushioned walls in soft millennial pink. Highly Instagramable, the space even has a wind-tunnel-meets-bounce-house, in which customers can jump while being blasted with the force of 36 high-powered DYSON fans. This is a great feature for a Boomerang-effect video.
The pop-up offers THE ARRIVALS collection Release 5.O and 5.1, in addition to limited edition items that are only available at the brick-and-mortar location. The pop-up also offers a selection of partner brands, including: Fates jewelry, BLYSZAK eyewear, Von Holzhausen handbags, and Sennheiser headphones.
After visiting all of the stores, one thing was certain: selfies aren’t going anywhere. Customers were willing to take their heels off to take pictures on the bouncy house, walked into Cartier asking for the sensorial room and Instagrammed everything in Moncler’s new store. Retailers that use unexpected physical experiences to generate buzz end up generating a ton of online traffic. As their customers would tell you: “Pics or it didn’t happen.”
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