Next Level Shopping

Next Level Shopping

Experiential Retail Trends

Max Power

27th February 2019

Competition from online retailers is at an all-time high, so it’s only natural that brick-and-mortar retailers are upping the ante. From seasonal activations to augmented reality product promotions and long-term installations, one-of-a-kind branded experiences provide added value that online can’t compete with. Add in the instant shareability of a photo booth, and IRL retail experiences gain viral potential.

Augmented Reality Shopping

We’re all addicted to turning ourselves into puppies on Snapchat, but AR can enhance a shopping experience too. MAC Cosmetics has given our favourite online pastime a practical in-store purpose with the MAC Virtual Try-On Mirror. The display allows customers to try different make-up looks without ever getting the backs of their hands dirty. The app saves each session, emailing a list of tried products along with shareable GIFs to the shopper.

Augmented reality set-ups can take shoppers far beyond the mall. With AR installations customers can try couture clothes straight from the runway, take pics modelling skiwear in the swiss alps, or have their photo taken with a brand’s celebrity spokesperson.

Seasonal delights

For decades it’s been a drawcard for shoppers to visit the Christmas window displays of major retailers such as Selfridges and Harrods in London, Macy’s and Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and David Jones and Myer here in Australia. These days, shopping centres and retailers take it a step further and celebrate the joy of the seasons with immersive experiences for their shoppers.

Each year our Awkward Christmas photo booth features at Westfield Carindale, taking 70s-style awkward family photos of shoppers. It’s become an annual tradition for many Brisbane locals, who come for the photo booth and stay to get last-minute Christmas shopping done. The awkward snaps are printed to put on the fridge, and emailed to share with family and friends online.

Sephora Canada went a more classic route when presenting their holiday collection with the Sephora Holiday Cabin. This elegant wintry experience allowed influencers and media to shop the new collection while enjoying a live jazz band, holiday-themed drinks and snacks, and an alpine cabin-style photo booth.

Seasonal installations aren’t limited to the holiday season. Celebrate Summer with a sandy beach bar, or showcase a curated collection of festival fashion with a Woodstock green screen booth. Create an autumnal atmosphere with a hot chocolate stand and GIF booth with falling leaves. Offer shoppers a loved-up Valentine’s day experience with a pop-up florist, gift wrapping station and KissCam photo booth.

Long-term installations

An immersive brand experience doesn’t have to be one-and-done. Long-term installations can enhance a shopping experience or provide a product showcase space. On a larger scale, a long-term installation can become a community space for the brand’s core customers.


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L’Occitane transports shoppers from NYC to Provence with a sunny permanent in-store installation. Signature yellow bikes display featured products in their baskets, and a backdrop of a quaint French laneway is made for Instagramming. The overall feel is luxe, befitting the brand, and the display adds a sense of light and space to the store.

Vans has tapped into its core market in a huge way with their House of Vans cultural hubs. There are permanent House of Vans locations in New York, Illinois and London, as well as pop-ups around the world. The concept combines indoor skate parks with concert venues featuring regular concerts, parties and movie nights. House of Vans provides a space for Vans fans to use their products, hone their craft, and connect with other skaters. That creates true community and brand loyalty.

An unmanned photo booth is an ideal complement to a long-term installation, making the experience instantly shareable. At branded community venues, photo booths cement new friendships and encourage online connection between brand fans.

Do you have a brilliant experiential retail concept?

Let’s bring it to life! Our in-house creative team can create an unforgettable experience for your customers. From custom branded booths and unmanned photo booths to AR GIF booths and seasonal installations, the options are endless. Get in touch here.