Experiential retail evolving in Australia
Experiential retail is being adopted by many retailers worldwide, Australia needs to follow suit to address the threat from e-commerce.
Retailers have begun to harness the power of experiential retail to lure consumers back to stores. With the boom of e-commerce sales, the introduction of experiential retail couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only is experiential retail a strategy used by retailers to drive sales and engage with customers, but it is also vital in creating an immersive experience, strengthening customer relationships and brand loyalty.
In a global setting, experiential retail was harnessed notably by Canada Goose, Vans and Nike. These brands provided in-store spaces to showcase their products and allowed consumers to test them out in their intended environments.
Canada Goose’s store in Toronto allows shoppers to try out their parkas by physically stepping into a below-freezing temperature room known as the ‘cold room’, which aims to mimic arctic-like conditions complete with ice sculptures and digital landscapes. With the overwhelmingly positive response from consumers, the company proceeded to open multiple ‘cold rooms’ across the globe over the past couple of years.
Urban footwear and clothing brand, Vans, transformed five underground tunnels in London into an all-encompassing creative playground with offerings ranging from an indoor skate park for consumers to test out their shoes to an 850 person capacity art and music venue. The spaces also include a café, numerous bars with live music and a cinema area, positioning the brand as not just another shoe brand.
Nike’s SoHo flagship store in New York offers a half-court basketball court, a 400 square foot soccer field and dedicated treadmills to give their shoes a trial run. Consumers are able to receive advice from in-store certified athletes on product features, benefits and get the chance to socialise with other consumers alike.
In Australia, note-worthy experiential retail was implemented by KitKat in their flagship boutique located in MidCity, Sydney. This store provides customers with the opportunity to fully customise their own KitKat and see their creations come to life while enjoying a drink from their in-store café. Another example is Toombul Shopping Centre in Brisbane, where a new dining and entertainment experience known as ‘UPSTAIRS’ features a circus-themed entertainment and foodie playground headlined by Queensland’s for Archie Brother’s Cirque Electriq. Archie Brother’s Cirque Electriq is an entertainment destination with dodgem cars, bowling alleys, arcade games, virtual reality rides and a bar.
We believe retailers in Australia will need to continue to adopt similar in-store experiential concepts to compete as they evolve to an omnichannel business model. So, the question is– what’s more in store for experiential retail in Australia?