Retail will be a mash-up of experience and mobile
The history of retail, particularly the mall, was born from the experience of visiting circus-tent-sized panoramas. Early in our modern era, folks would gather together to view wide-angle-scoped scenes of far away landscapes. They’d walk within them, be enveloped by the magnificence of places they couldn’t imagine of seeing themselves, and ponder the expansiveness of the world. Film, as we experience it today by gathering together in theaters to be enveloped by the moving pictures, started from the same historical pivot.
It’s no surprise then, that retail has steadily been spiking the “brand experience” as a key element to strategic planning. As this trend continues, mixed with the ever-innovative feats of mobile technology and the digital components being layered upon the connected world, the demand for greater experience will grow in partnership with a greater demand for immediacy.
Who needs a retail space for brand experience? Brands should take these spaces and turn them into regularly-changing “living portals.” What if Levi’s created their retail spaces in the same manner they create their live-action ads? A space with growling self-proclaiming voice overs, stages with sparkling band-equipment, weather blown floor-spaces with spinning trampolines and campfires that shift into lamp-post street corners and wood paneled cabins.
By visiting this space I can chose my role, put on the Levis garments of how I envision myself within this place and then take part in the action with my fellow brand fans. Actors gallop throughout the space, wearing all the newest articles from the Levis catalog. They shift from the stations, from the band-stage to the trampoline to the lamp-light, with appropriate wardrobe changes, to showcase all that Levis has to offer and why. They show, don’t tell. I live in their space, not just witness it. The articles I wear then become souvenirs, the relics of my experience. They are infused with the spirit of the energy the brand gives to me.
The “added-value” is I get more take-aways then the clothes…I get a video of myself on the trampoline, photos with my new friends running with the “Go Forth” banner. I become part of a webcast, part of the play. My actions appear on digital billboards in Times Square, Picadilly Circus, more…I will leave the store refreshed, vibrant, recharged by the brand down the path of the lifestyle it represents to me. I am woven into the narrative and plan for my next foray into the Levis space. Wondering what Levis will become next, what experience it will offer me, what I can become next.
Still, I do need some socks, a t-shirt, and a jacket. Anywhere within the Levis store I can use my phone (or a kiosk) to view the catalog, including my past purchases and recommendations. I can access this catalog from my phone later, anywhere. I can click through the characters I’ve seen and interacted with, and select their garments for myself. I can watch videos of them modeling the clothes, or wearing them live within the experience. I can even see the videos of myself wearing these clothes as these will have been uploaded immediately, in real-time. I can share these videos with my friends, my family, I can post them to YouTube, Tumblr. I can edit them into new videos and post them across the Levis network.
And once I have decided on which garments I need…I can have these new clothes delivered to me, either by an associate who appears magically from a secret door or by having them drop-shipped to my home, same day, or for a scheduled delivery-time I chose through an interactive calendar.
I want to be in the experience, and I want my stuff now. It’s possible. I expect this to happen in the near future.