Have you ever been really excited to try a new product in a store and then been let down by the experience? The anticipation of getting your hands on something quickly turns to disappointment and disillusionment – we’ve all been there. With the rapid rise of e-commerce and the ability to buy anything, anywhere it has become more important that experiences at physical retail elevate the product interaction and don’t detract from it!
When the Green Room team were designing the Bose flagship experience we were mindful that we were creating trial moments around high tech products (most of which had been developed by MIT alumni!) therefore when it came to supporting storytelling we wanted to pay tribute to the quality of engineering and innovation invested in the products, but translate the ethos into emotionally charged customer engagement moments.
One of the first steps when designing the experience was to create a platform that brought Bose and the customer closer together in a meaningful way at retail. After conducting marketplace research and interviewing staff and observing customers we settled on ‘the Imaginarium’ as the experience platform. It was important for us to help customers to see the end benefit Bose products could add to their lives from an emotional perspective, for us it was vital that the experiences sparked the imagination. Why? We know most purchase decisions at retail are ultimately guided by the heart and not the head – so we chose to talk to the heart!
As part of the Imaginarium experience platform we devised a ‘soft tech’ strategy that helped us to specify content and technology in a more human way – helping to support a warmer, more emotional engagement between customer and product. Leading with emotionally led content that celebrated the product benefits and encouraged playful trial.
Our first step was to dig deep into understanding the true technical advantage of each product group. We worked with the Bose product development team and engineers in Framingham Massachusetts to identify the key product attributes and what the end-user benefit might be. We then translated these benefits into narratives that would be compelling and easy to comprehend for customers in a ‘browse state’ within the flagship retail environment.
Once these stories were determined we investigated technologies that would bring them to life in a way that supported the narrative and supported customer trial. It became clear quite quickly that all interactions needed to be intuitive and playful in line with the Imaginarium platform, while supporting the underlying product benefit.
We quickly discounted relying on ‘traditional’ screen-based technologies as we believe retail is now at a tipping point of ‘screen saturation’ – given the screens now in our pockets, our backpacks and living space, the intrigue of content on a screen, in a store has long diminished – besides, touching a screen lacked the experiential feedback a brand like Bose required.
My favourite example of narrative, technology and interaction coming together is the Bose Lifestyle 650 Showcase – the power of the product range is expressed through immersive thunderstorm content that engages the user yet does not overwhelm the senses. Hidden projectors render content across a vertical canvas surrounding the products and a hidden leap motion sensor which allows the customer to manipulate both the audio content delivered through the speakers and supporting visual content, just by moving their hand through space. Raise your hand rapidly and you unleash a clap of thunder, the ultimate shareable experience!
So, if you want to avoid underwhelming product experiences at retail then we recommend taking the following steps.
Carefully consider the product you want to talk about – how the key story translates in a meaningful way at retail and then bringing it to life through well considered narrative.
Ensure technology choices support the underlying intent of the narrative and product benefit.
Create meaningful interactions that encourage purposeful engagement and trial.
If you’d like to find out more about the tools we use to reach our solutions and how we can help you too then please get in touch!