Back in April, we wrote about how due to the pandemic and the subsequent meteoric rise of online shopping, if retail is to exist, there needs to be a reason to visit.
And now it seems that a small corner of retail, known as experiential retail, previously only reserved for the likes of the gaming industry, where customers could come and try a new console or game before purchase is re-emerging as the potential future of brick and mortar shopping.
So why is experiential retail on the rise? The high street needs that injection of inspiration. Stagnant retail models and falling footfall have forced businesses to develop new ideas of how and where people should be buying their products, and in particular looking to merge the online and physical retail experience.
A lot of bricks and mortar businesses seem to be almost fighting against e-commerce, as previously there hasn’t been a link between the two, it always been either online or offline purchases. SITU Live aims to help bridge the gap, giving the brand an opportunity to have customers get hands-on with their products whilst offering the ease and flexibility of online shopping.
Situ Live is a multi-brand destination where consumers are able to fully immerse themselves in the products on display. Buyers aren’t able to simply purchase items and take them home. Instead, its store will provide customers with the chance to experience products before deciding to purchase them online from a retailer’s space inside the Situ Live venue.
Situ did its research, they uncovered a trend that consumers didn’t want to buy on the day of discovering a new product, similarly to how users interact with e-commerce, they wanted to look, shop around, and to buy at a later date at their convenience.
Situ Live is opening its first ‘venue’ in London’s Westfield shopping centre and their CEO explained the difference: “It’s not a store, it’s a venue. It’s not a retailer, it’s in a retail landscape, and I think that’s an important distinction.”
“And it’s more of a retail type entertainment venue where we have a stage and we have some wow-factors. We have some things that inspire you and educate you and we have real food in a live kitchen that you can taste.”
Whether experiential retail is what the high street needs and whether it will be a success remain to be seen and only time will tell, but thanks to companies like Situ Live it is set to become the next evolution in retail.
Situ Live’s Westfield shopping space will launch late summer and will include experiences from Maserati, Lutron and Facebook amongst others.