I had lunch recently at Royal-T, a cool loftlike space off the main drag in Culver City, CA. More than a retail space, Royal-T is an experience. It’s a cafe. It’s a store. It’s an art gallery.
A Japanese flair-induced, retail fusion concept, Royal-T has cosplay waitresses who serve guests who dine while peering at the retail or gallery spaces, then can take in the overall space in more detail after their meal.
Dining has long been part of retail experiences, from department stores reviving in-store dining (notable chef David Burke opened a post at Bloomingdales flagship on 59th in NYC and Barney’s, where Barney’s Greengass in LA and Fred’s in NYC are places to see and be seen).
Check out Comvert, a skate/snowboard company where their corporate headquarters house administrative offices, retail, and a skateboard bowl.
So are we going to have more in-depth, more involved retail experiences as we move forward, or are we going to back focus on products?
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
While the emphasis on the product can’t be underestimated, we also want to have a retail experience.
We all want something different in our retail experiences today. An experience can be as simple as a fantastic staff who give unparalleled customer service. Add on great music, great product and a great vibe, and you have an even better experience.
But experience can go beyond product into a whole other realm. A realm where the experience is much more than retail. It can be performance. It can be music (we’ve all experience retailers that bring in live DJ’s (Bloomies loves to do this, as does Puma)). It can be art. It can be a trunk show. It can be an in-store event.
Retail today can be anything you want to make it. You just have to make it something. Don’t sit by idling while the retail world passes you by. Your customers are experiencing different and unique types of retail as they travel. Make sure you’re providing them with an experience they can get right at home, and one that’s in line with their ever-expanding expectations of what a retail experience can be.