For years the retail sector has been competing with the ever-increasing speed and practicality of home shopping. And as we visit retail spaces less and less, what does the future hold for these once mighty owners of our free time and money?
Well it’s not all doom and gloom, we just need to pause for a moment and reimagine what a retail space can and should be. We know from research that 82% of shoppers would like to ‘view and touch’ products before committing to buying them online and as human beings we crave entertainment and desire sensory experiences, experiences such as sight and touch. And some very Bearded Kitten-themed research shows that when we are experiencing entertainment our brains release oxytocin which stimulates strong emotional bondings, handy for both retailers and live experience designers.
Combining all this science and data, the Bearded Kitten approach is to create immersive experiences built around the sensory qualities of products in engaging and disruptive retail spaces, because consumers want memories, not just products. And we know that 93% of the public believes that events have a larger influence on them than TV or social ads, which is nice.
Are we claiming that immersive retail can save the high street? Maybe! But at our core, we believe in designing fun for audiences that expect more. So here’s an example of how we mix fun with science, in our unique Bearded Kitten way.
SITU Live is an ever-changing venue we helped create at the Westfield London shopping centre in 2020. Created in partnership with SITU Live, the vision was to reinvent what a retail experience could and should be. We wanted to create an experience that matched shoppers with product innovations using immersive storytelling and live demonstrations to create a discovery playhouse environment, not a hard sell.
Why do we believe in this approach so passionately? Because in the past brands wanted us to create a pop-up event designed to engage people over a weekend. Whereas SituLive created a venue where people were invited to try numerous products not for a weekend, but for a whole year. Creating a huge collective experience, all in the same space.
In summary, we believe the future of retail is allowing the public to embrace and engage with products at every opportunity. Creating a more immersive and entertaining retail experience and activating that love hormone!
So please touch, poke, stroke and engage with the merchandise, the future of retail is fun!