The Power of Play

Posted on July 10, 2015 by Bud Morris

The Power of Play

Posted on July 10, 2015 by Bud Morris

With each new week bringing with it fresh announcements of retailer shutdowns, the call for innovative in-store environments becomes a keening cry. Retailers need to offer relevant and brand-authentic environments that engage customers like never before.innovative in-store

Welcome to shopping’s next generation.

Some standouts:

Hamley’s, Moscow, Russia. More theme park than shop, this sprawling space — Europe’s biggest toy store — includes a mess of interactive attractions, including a go-kart track, an “enchanted forest” and a Lego zone overseen by a towering 13-metre Lego rocket.

The House of Vans, London. Snaking through the tunnels under Waterloo station, this unique skateboarding-inspired shoe and apparel “store” features a permanent indoor skate park, a live music venue, a cinema and an art gallery whose exhibits change regularly.

Westfield San Francisco Centre, San Francisco. This massive mall recently introduced a real-world version of the smartphone game Angry Birds. In conjunction with game maker Rovio, this interactive offering invites shoppers to enter a gaming booth and strap on Samsung Gear VR goggles that let them slingshot the flightless star players in 3D.

Experimental storefront pop-up, New York. In May, New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress partnered with experiential design agency Urban to present an interactive pong game in a pop-up storefront. This larger-than-life display employed a 6’-by-8’ interactive pixel grid made up of 18.5” internally lit bulbs with which passersby could interact using their smartphones.

Disney, 90 North American stores. The massive retailer invites shoppers to try Playmation, its line of high-tech toys and wearables, in a move to shift kids from screens into physical activity. Would-be participants attend training sessions before launching into missions and adventures.

By introducing a playful approach to their physical environment, retailers increase their opportunity to establish a powerful emotional connection with their customers that can engender appreciation and loyalty.