A new trend is grabbing hold in the world of innovative customer experience.
Some are calling it the “un-store.” and the premise is simple: customers want to experience a brand, not buy it and companies are paying attention.
No more wandering aisles.
No more typical consumer-store relationships where stores hawk their wares in the traditional way, using endless aisles and routine marketing displays.
So what does an ‘unstore’ look like? Although the principles of the unstore can apply to any business that directly interacts with customers, we will take a quick excursion into the tech world to see a recent example.
In fact, this is “outside the box” marketing at its best.
Samsung’s Stellar Example of the ‘Un-Store’
The venue is in New York City’s sprawling Meatpacking District.
That’s right, Samsung is offering shoppers a “venue.” The word “store” no longer fits.
As Forbes recently reported, the new space is called Samsung 837, and inside you will have the opportunity to do a number of interactive things:
Explore a fully functioning, state-of-the-art smart kitchen. That’s right, you can actually press buttons and twist knobs and play with the gadgets.
Use the world’s biggest mobile screen to take a larger-than-life selfie.
Step into Samsung’s Music Studio and discover new recording artists.
Pick the brains of one of Samsung’s most brilliant tech experts who are on-site ready to converse with visitors.
Step into the highly praised installation called the “Social Galaxy,” a tunnel filled with screens and mirrors reflecting those screens. Before you step in, you type in your Instagram handle. Then as you walk through the tunnel, your photos, hashtags, and descriptions are projected on the screens and reflected in a fantastical visual display across every square inch of the tunnel. You’re literally stepping inside of your Instagram account and experiencing your “digital alter ego,” as the creator of the installation, Kenzo Digital, described it.
Access private entertainment events or regular programming hosted by Samsung in a large auditorium.
Interact with numerous installations that essentially turn a three-story space into a digital playground.
[bctt tweet=”The principles above–interactivity, creative immersion–are not constrained to the tech industry.” username=”7raysmarketing”]
The premise for what shoppers are now demanding is simple.
We have become so accustomed to using online stores to do our browsing, product selection, and purchasing. Many of us no longer want to do the tedious routine of wandering through aisles in a physical store, hunting down the right product and hoping it’s in stock.
Although the act of shopping can be quite therapeutic for some, for many the whole process has grown stale.
Customers Want an Experience
Companies are seeing this, and they’re reacting by creating spaces like Samsung 837.
Zach Overton, the Vice President and General Manager of Samsung 837 said this to Forbes about their goal with 837:
“Creating a flagship without retail might sound like a crazy idea, but consumers today are seeking interactions (experiences) rather than transactions. We wanted to create a two-way conversation with our customers and visitors—a personal dialogue.”
Falling in Love with Brands (and Brand Experiences)
Of course, the basic principle behind the “unstore,” while sporting many innovations, is not new. The classic marketing book “Lovemarks” by Kevin Roberts, the CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, saw the unstore coming long before it arrived. It dedicated entire books (and a website) to the idea that brands need to create experiences that make people fall in love. Not only in love with the products but with the overall experiences they have with the brand.
Eventually the customer falls in love with the brand itself, and that’s when companies begin to get, what Roberts calls, “loyalty beyond reason.”
According to Roberts, there are three pillars of positive experiences to consider before a customer falls in love with your brand:
Mystery: The brand uses stories, metaphors, dreams, symbols, the past, and the future to stir imagination, nostalgia, hope, and other deeper emotions.
Sensuality: The brand engages as many of the five senses of the customer as it can in a positive, memorable way.
Intimacy: The brand uses sincere empathy, compassion, and commitment to the customer to make the brand-consumer relationship feel intimate and personal. These are often the little things–the minute gestures of customization and attention-to-detail that stick in the customer’s mind long after the experience.
It comes down to a simple truth: it is about meaningful personalization and experience. If you can give your customers those two things, you’re on your way to becoming an unstore.
Ready to start thinking outside the box with your branding and marketing? Get in touch to discuss the possibilities!
It is our mission to nurture brands in the Health and Wellness industries with purpose-driven branding and marketing that bring results.