Immersive theatre experiences have been popular for some time with companies like Punchdrunk offering consumers the chance to be plunged into another world, but now immersion has reached the high street in the form of the Google store and Lush’s new flagship store.
As a predominantly online brand moving into a physical space, it was important for Google to ensure that they echoed the fun personality that they had achieved in the virtual in real life. With Apple owning aesthetic purism in the technology category and in their retail space, Google had the chance to really stand out when they moved into the real world. Their shop in Currys PC World on Tottenham Court Road allows consumers to feel completely submerged in the crazy world of Google by doodling on walls, playing interactive games and flying over the world onscreen with the Google Earth Wall. These elements successfully evoke the brand personality that Google have built online based around fun and creativity, from their quirky, campus-style office to their ever-changing online logo, and allow customers to feel part of the world in which Google lives.
Lush have also focused on the experience element of their retail space in their new three storey flagship store on Oxford Street. The Gorilla perfume gallery allows customers to enter into the world of each individual Gorilla perfume on multiple sensorial levels, using music, visuals and of course scent. Each experience is highly-crafted – from a booth that transports you to a Beat club with a record player and an incense burner to echo the smoky, sandalwood scent of “The Voice of Reason”, to a mini disco which allows you to dive into the technicolor world of “Stayin’ Alive”. This instalment takes the feel and attitude of a scent, something which is quite intangible and difficult to explain, and makes it accessible and desirable to the consumer.
Providing immersive experiences of this type within a retail space is really important for making consumers feel involved and invested in a space, and at a time, which usually feels highly transactional. They bring the brand’s personality to life and help the consumer to develop a personal relationship with the company and their products. And with companies like Uber creating such an exceptionally seamless experience, consumers now expect so much more. Providing an incredible experience is no longer something that is nice to have in an interaction with a brand – it’s essential. We would like to see other brands taking the leap and incorporating experiential elements into their high street offering to create immersive, meaningful moments that will have a real impact on consumers.