A new kind of store...

I was just thinking...

  • How can we enrich our shopping experiences and yet make it more casual?
  • Can it be a more engaging and social affair?
  • Will products benefit from a more hands-on participatory experience?

I sometimes find shopping to be a cold reminder of how distant consumers are from the whole process. Advertisements, sales representatives, and product reviews give provide a decent indication of a product's utility. Between The Verge and my own research, I'm a confident buyer and enjoy the process. However, there are many people who either don't want to do research, are unable to, or just never get around to it. There needs to be a more engaging medium for the average consumer.

Apple and Microsoft are on to this with their stores, showcasing products in a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment. Makes you feel at home. The products are on display, and I'm sure sales representatives give great demonstrations, but I think we can do better. Imagine if you will, walking into a store and seeing a living room in the centre. Couches, TV, quiet music, people hanging out, etc. Naturally I'm curious; what's going on? I move closer to be within earshot but remain inconspicuous because I don't necessarily feel like talking with a sales rep. A few employees are demonstrating new devices and how to use them with a few other interested people. Look! They just wirelessly mirrored that tablet with the TV! I didn't know stuff could do that, I wonder if it's widely available or if there are expensive receivers I need. I think I'll go take a seat on that couch and wait for a sales rep.

My example isn't the greatest, but what I'm getting at is the advantage of natural in-store demonstrations. It can't just be walking up to a device that's locked to some chain where I can flick around the screen.

The experience needs to be sold, not the product.