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In 2018, the average consumer would tell you that the retail industry was heavily transitioning to online commerce. This, however, can be closely attributed to the decline of the enclosed shopping mall model in which brick-and-mortar retailers may struggle to entice existing and potential customers.

In order to stay relevant, physical stores are shifting to a new model that combines interactive elements and entertainment to create an experience that online shopping simply cannot replicate. Some are calling it retailtainment.

Retailers are heavily targeting consumers who are seeking more personalized connections with brands by creating memorable experiences in store. Business owners who commit to the concept are not only surviving but also thriving.

So, what are some of the most interesting retailtainment concepts out there in the industry today? We’ve put together a list of some that caught our attention. Let us know in the comments what types of ideas you found most interesting.

Recapturing Customers Through Retailtainment

Again, the concept of retailtainment serves as a solution for gaining customers who may favor e-commerce or are looking for more than a typical store visit. Retailers have to offer much more than an attractive atmosphere and quality inventory (although, these are just as important).

  • Disney – The Disney company was one of the first to start adding interactive elements to its retail stores. Young shoppers were able to visit and purchase items while watching the latest Disney movie in a creative space. They found that guests were more likely to spend additional time browsing if entertainment was part of the equation. As a result, it became easier to sell products when guests were spending longer periods of time exposed to the brand.
  • Fleet Feet – Fleet Feet specializes in running products, while also offering its clients daily running and walking groups. Its four-step outfitting process helps provide a customized service above anything the internet could offer. They start by listening to the client’s needs, then use a 3D scanner to capture the arch dimensions for insole recommendations. The client then tries on shoes until they find the perfect fit. Finally, they have a conversation with the client about future plans. This may include joining a Fleet Feet activity group.

  • Lululemon – Lululemon invites the community to yoga classes held in store. Through this service, clients are able to test out their in-store purchases while creating fun memories with the brand.
  • Bite – A beauty company based in California, Bite has created the Lip Lab, a collaborative space that gives clients full control over the creation of their lipstick. After booking an appointment, the consultation begins with a Lab Artist who walks the client through the process. Going beyond mere color selection, customization includes finishes such as matte, crème, sheer and also fragrances and shimmers.

  • Serengetee – A shirt company famous for its pocket tees, Serengetee delivers a unique twist on the create-your-own t-shirt concept. The company presents pocket fabrics from all over the world for customers to choose from. Each pocket is handcrafted by different global artisans, and proceeds from the pocket fabric selection go directly back to the same community. In the end, customers are able to indirectly connect to the communities around the world that they are supporting.

Impact of “Retailtainment” on Large Developments

Independent retailers aren’t the only ones who are changing focus. Malls that have not adapted to the evolving retail environment seem to find themselves—in worse case—with a revolving door when it comes to tenants. Newer malls that provide retailtainment are holding strong and paving the way of the future.

According to various news outlets, a proposed mall/shopping center is coming to Miami that will span over 6 million square feet. The American Dream Mall will contain retail stores, restaurants, a hotel, and an indoor theme park. However, the mall is still under review. If completed as proposed, sources say it will feature a submarine ride, indoor ski slope, water park, sports complex, outdoor fishing, and a movie theater.

In Huntsville, developments like Stovehouse are shaping the way of modern retail locally. A differentiator of Stovehouse is the rich history behind the property, which the developers are keen on maintaining. An outdoor food garden will be the first feature to open at Stovehouse, which will serve eclectic cuisine surrounded by unique outdoor games.

Of course, this is just one of the many developments throughout Huntsville that embrace experiential retail.

Is Retailtainment the Best Way for Retailers Moving Forward?

In reality, it makes sense for brands to pursue retailtainment in the competitive retail environment.

However, basic retail practices are still crucial. Stores must provide a solid product and good team foundations. It is even more effective to have a knowledgeable, friendly sales force.

Once a solid foundation is nurtured, we will start seeing more retailers adding elements of retailtainment to their business.

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AYESHA PATEL
MARKETING INTERN
CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP

 

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