Retail technology is a hot topic this holiday season, with the collision of online, mobile and in-store retail, not to mention the increased use of apps and social commerce as well.
One of the recent subplots has been the question of how brick-and-mortar retailers can compete with online rivals, particularly on the basis of price.
In a previous article (see Androidland), my colleague Alen Puaca urged retailers to establish stronger relationships with customers (something that has worked wonders for Apple stores), to become a part of the community, to show distinctive character and to offer tools to help customers find what they're looking for -- all of these things help to make your store a destination.
According to Sean Deale of In-Store Trends, 10 retailers have taken creative approaches to making their stores desirable destinations as well, using the term "Retailtainment" to describe their entertaining appeal:
- Disney: Stores become less of a retail outlet and more of a "magical wonderland" that people (and kids) will tell their friends about. (See above photo.)
- Loblaws: Canadian grocery chain offers cooking classes to draw customers into the store and promote healthy eating.
- Bass Pro Shops: Over the holidays, stores set up "Santa's Wonderland," where children can meet Santa Claus. Their "Outdoor World" locations present outdoor gear in a museum/science center-type format to appeal to all ages.
- Cabela's: Similarly, 45% of Cabela's store area is devoted to entertainment fixtures and displays (aquariums, taxidermy exhibits, shooting galleries, etc.) To read more about how they offer customers an interactive in-store experience, check out our mention about Cabela's at CETW.
- IKEA: Australian locations have introduced a "MANLAND" area where men can entertain themselves while their significant others shop.
- Lululemon: The yogawear giant hosts weekly yoga classes at its stores to drive impulse sales, boost the brand image and connect with the community.
- Best Buy: To drive sales and give back to the community, the "LIVE @ Best Buy" program allows up-and-coming musicians to perform onstage in-store.
- Jordan's Furniture: There's an IMAX theatre inside Jordan's furniture stores in the Northeastern U.S. but to get to the theatre, you have to walk through to the back of the store.
- Brookstone: This store for electronic gifts lets shoppers to come in and relax in comfy massage chairs. The store almost becomes a waiting area -- their significant others come and grab them when they're done shopping in other parts of the mall.
- Candylicious: The store sets up an air chamber blowing "candy dollars" up in the air. Customers wait their turn to go in the chamber and grab as many dollars as they can (it's difficult), and redeem those dollars for candy in-store.