The rise of online shopping and the evidently struggling high street shows the increasing importance of Retail theatre. Current physical retailers and online retailers looking to make the move to physical stores now have to rethink the purpose of the store. Simply having rows of products is no longer enough and instead the store must compel consumers to make the journey. The collapse of Toys R Us is a prime example and serves as a warning to all. Here is some of our favourite approaches.

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Taking the approach that people do not need another store, the Samsung 837 flagship in New York rethinks the purpose of the physical store by creating a ‘technology playground’. Samsung have literally brought theatre by including an auditorium with a huge digital screen that consists of 96 55-inch visual displays for film screenings and special cultural events.

When not specifically require the screen displays selfies taken on nearby cameras, in-keeping with current trends. As if this wasn’t enough a VR tunnel and gallery is also on site to display technology based art installations / immersive experiences. Samsung 837 is not designed to sell anything but instead to create a relevant cultural destination for people to simply spend time trying out the latest technology, absorb the Samsung lifestyle and see that Samsung products understand them.

je+1 Retail Theatre
je+1 Retail Theatre
je+1 Retail Theatre
je+1 Retail Theatre
je+1 Retail Theatre

Amazon have managed the tricky task to bring the consumer focussed ease of their online shopping experience to the physical environment. Their first Brick-and-Mortar Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle features Amazons own version of retail theatre, ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’ eliminates queues with a futuristic format for checkout free convenience.

“The checkout-free shopping experience is made possible by the same types of technologies used in self-driving cars: computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.” The technology automatically detects products, taken or returned allowing the customer to simply walk out when they are done shopping. Producing stores with such developed technology must be an expensive undertaking but Amazon have announced plans for two further stores in Chicago and San Francisco.

je+1 Retail Theatre
je+1 Retail Theatre

This futuristic experience shows a progressive company with creative solutions to current problems and Amazons version of convenience shopping acts as a talking point of what can be. For a convenience store to be attracting fascinated tourists shows Amazons global appeal and can only be driving even more customers to the Amazon website. It begs the question is this physical store an advertisement for online retail?

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