NRF 2019 was an eye-opening way to start the year, and laid out a vision for what trends and tech to look out for. We got a good sense for what Retail was looking for in 2019 during our Walking NRF video with Melissa Gonzalez and Nichole Leinbach Reyhle: “Everything is an experience, and experience is everything.” This idea is our theme for today’s podcast as we break down a tech tool and a trendy theme for brick-and-mortar stores; we not only get more insight into the mix that is Retail and Pro AV, but we get even more thought leadership from our frequent collaborator Melissa Gonzalez, who looks to Lululemon as a staple for creative, in-store experiences.

WHY WE’RE IMMERSING CUSTOMERS WITH DIGITAL SIGNAGE, AR & VR

Coming off of NRF and as we approach Integrated Systems Europe, it’s impossible to deny the intersection of Retail and Pro AV. Whether it’s micro-LED in self-service kiosks or video walls capturing the imagination, retailers who are putting experience first are gravitating toward digital signage as their solution for more engaged customers.

MarketScale contributor, writer and correspondent Beth Osborne joined the Retail podcast break down an article of her on how we’re revitalizing the Retail industry with experiential digital signage. It’s something we’ve seen consistently over the last several years, and it was really highlighted during the holiday shopping season of 2018.

“Everybody wants an experience these days,” said Osborne. “It’s not enough for a company or brand to have great merchandising and great products, there has to be some kind of experience.” In this sense, AR and VR have really come into play in the retail space. As shoppers flocked to stores over the holiday season, increased usage of AR and VR by retail outlets sought to add value to the overall customer experience.

Beth pointed to the example of Zara’s use of AR as “bridging the gap between brick and mortar and e-commerce”. Pro AV technology is the future for retailers who are looking to entice customers back into their physical locations by enhancing the overall experience.

BRINGING BOOKS TO LULULEMON, AND THE POWER OF UNIQUE POP-UPS

Athleisure retailer Lululemon recently partnered with Penguin Random House books for an unusual collaboration. Together they created a pop-up library, located in Lululemon’s HUB Seventeen community space in New York City’s Flatiron building. It includes spaces for guests to read or check-out over 1,000 books, as well as iPads to listen to audiobooks.

But, the Vancouver-based retailer’s Fifth Avenue location isn’t just a store. It’s a 3,5000 square foot loft-like space, where the athletic retailer currently hosts yoga classes by popular instructors in the adjoining studios. Melissa Gonzalez, CEO of the Lionesque Group, thinks this kind of experiential store is exactly what retail needs. She joined our MarketScale Retail podcast to share her insight on new experiential store experiences and store-in-store concepts that are transforming the face of retail.

“You’re seeing shop in shops happening,” Gonzalez said. “Collaboration is today’s competition.”

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