The rapid growth of online e-tailers has completely flipped the nature of retail on its head. People can now quickly access the products they want to buy, compare prices and styles online and not even have to worry about leaving the house. To tempt people into physical retail stores, brands need to be offering a more immersive and interesting experience for customers that make it worth getting out of bed for.
The main thing that online retail lacks is sensory stimulation. Through a screen you can’t feel the texture of a sweater, smell the scent of a candle or taste whether the champagne you are buying is really worth the premium. By being able to engage with the senses, physical retail has an obvious advantage over online stores because the customer can evaluate the qualities of the product they want to buy.
A pop-up store is even more attractive than a regular physical store, because its limited time frame means that it generates a sense of exclusivity as well as being able to appeal to the senses. These pop-up stores made the most of their temporary nature to engage with the senses to create a unique and immersive experience for customers.
We live in age where customers want to know where their purchases come from, how they are produced and how this may effect the quality of the product. Not only is this because consumers are growing ever more environmentally conscious, but because they want to feel like they are part of the brands’ journey. Nespresso created a pop-up experience that would educate their customers by engaging with their senses.
Their store in Leuven, Belgium, created a program of three experiential stages to entice customers and help them find the perfect coffee blend. The first stage saw experts educate customers about the difference in coffee beans not just by tasting them, but by feeling them too. This helped customers change their perspective on how they should be choosing which coffee to buy.
The second stage saw a more personalized experience offered to customers at the pop-up space. Visitors to the store had to declare what they thought was their favorite flavor at the start of the experience. However at this point coffee experts offered them the chance to try similar but less well known flavors. Nespresso knew this was a great way to get coffee enthusiasts interested in products they wouldn’t necessarily have known about otherwise.
For those interested in how their coffee got ‘From grain to cup’ the final stage of the experience offered a 45 minute masterclass in just that. The talk covered a range of topics from the coffee cultivation process, the different varieties of coffee and how the quality of coffee was affected by the whole manufacturing process. This helped reaffirm the brand’s commitment to the unique flavors of coffee and educating their customers.
The store put senses at the heart of the experience. To prove that coffee was more than just about taste, but all of the senses, the pop-up used a range of different activities to educate their customers and engage with them on multiple levels. This created a personalized experience for each customer, and also one that could not be rivaled online or in a regular retail store.
- Roger Dubuis
Brands that sell high end products need to prove that they are worthy of their premium price tag. However it can be difficult to create a thrilling and intriguing experience about products that are uber-expensive. When watchmaker Roger Dubuis launched their collaboration with Lamborghini, they knew they had the perfect chance to use the senses to create something exhilarating.
For anyone enthusiastic about Roger Dubuis watches, the pop-up was the perfect place to see the intricacies of the watches inner mechanisms, which intentionally were designed to resemble a Lamborghini Aventador. They could also feel the watch straps, which were made from the same material as Formule 1 tyres. By engaging with the core senses, the pop-up sought to prove what made Roger Dubuis watches a cut above the rest.
To bring the sense of exhilaration that comes from driving a Lamborghini to the experience, the Roger Dubuis lounge played host to a 3D sound experience that fully immersed visitors to the pop-up in the thrills of the collaboration between the two brands. There was also a race simulator where people could compete for the fastest lap time and get a realistic substitute for driving a real Lamborghini.
Roger Dubuis created a sensory experience that proved their collaboration with Lamborghini was more than just for show. By being able to feel how light the watches were, see the intricate designs upfront and smell the rubber of the watch straps, Roger Dubuis proved that their products truly were influenced by Lamborghini and that their watches were completely unique.
Sometimes in the heat and bustle of the city, all you want is to be able to escape to somewhere a bit more serene. Hermes wanted to recreate the relaxing experience of going for a walk in the garden, but with a twist that would intrigue the senses and pique the interest of unsuspecting shoppers. They did this by creating a cafe with a difference at the back of their London flagship store.
To recreate the sense of being in the walled garden of a country home, but without actually planting thousands of flowers at short notice, over 3,000 colorful ping pong balls on sticks were dotted around the cafe. However, as there were still some trees and hedges in the garden, the space still smelt like a garden and helped create an illusion that visitors had escaped to the country.
The ping pong balls were specifically chosen to be warm shades of yellow, pink and orange not just to complement the brand’s latest tableware collection, but also to provide a much needed sense of calm to the space, which was located in the heart of the city. All of the tables and chairs were also white to help customers feel as if they were one with the environment, even if it was artificial.
The cafe therefore evoked the sights of the countryside to create a soothing and tranquil place to enjoy a coffee and some petit fours, while being in the heart of a hectic city. By engaging with the customer’s sense of taste, sight and smell they created a space where they could be excited, intrigued and tempted.
These pop-up stores are proof that when you choose to engage with multiple senses at once, you create a more interesting and worthwhile experience for customers. Whether it be to educate, thrill or relax, by focusing on the senses you are more likely to create an immersive and effective pop-up.