Dynamic Shopping Experiences Key to Future Retail Success, Says Marketer

October 13, 2005

Dynamic Shopping Experiences Key to Future Retail Success, Says Marketer

The next big transformation of retail will be a shift toward new shopping experiences, says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing. "Shoppers are rejecting the old concept of 'hunting-and-gathering' shopping in favor of a more involving, interesting, dynamic retail experience," says Danziger, who is at work on a new book called Shops That Pop, due for release by Dearborn Trade Publishing in the fall of 2006. She says such stores are on the cutting edge of the new experiential retailing paradigm. The distinctive features of "shops that pop" include:

• High levels of customer involvement and interaction. Shoppers touch, feel, taste, try on and participate in the store in a more involving way.

• High shopper curiosity. Shops that pop excite consumer curiosity to explore and experience, from the shop windows and entrance through the different displays. Atlanta's Boxwoods Gardens and Gifts, for example, lures shoppers through a maze of displays that promise a new treasure around every corner.

• A contagious, electric quality. The store exudes energy and excitement. Such shops are so kinetic that even shoppers not involved in the category feel there is something in the store for them, like lifestyle boutique Anthropologie.

• Convergence between atmosphere, store design, merchandise.The store presents a comprehensive vision that captures all the tangible and intangible elements. Colonial Williamsburg Gift Shops and Stores, for example, are true to their colonial roots throughout.

• A values-driven concept. It's more than just a store selling stuff. It is conceptually driven and reflects a visionary's values. It transcends being just a store into a new realm of experience. One example Danziger cites is Prairie Edge, Rapid City, SD, where shoppers can touch, feel and participate in Native American culture through art, crafts, fashion, jewelry, books and home furnishings.

• An accessible, non-exclusive and non-pretentious atmosphere: Shops are immediately accessible to everyone, free from signs of exclusivity or snobbishness. The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, for example, open ultra-luxe shopping to the masses through an engaging, theatrical shopping environment.

Danziger says retailers who want to be considered for her book's list of cutting-edge retailers, or who know of a store or a website that is highly experiential, should go to www.unitymarketingonline.com to nominate it.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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