Contextual Retailing—Where Inspiration Meets Relevancy

Contextual retail–which blends inspiration with relevancy—is flourishing due to new tech tools providing more immersive, seamless and connected shopping experiences. Smart brands and retailers are trading linear modes of ‘mission shopping’ for contextualized inspiration by deploying an increasingly advanced range of both physical and digital multi-sensory tools to emulate consumer experiences pre-purchase.

Similarly, using in-context inspiration and a more immersive approach to retailing to drive sales, retailers are transcending the traditional shopping experience by turning their showrooms into domestic settings.

The latest and most extravagant example comes from British department store John Lewis, which has established a pop-up apartment in its London Oxford Street flagship, inviting visitors to sleep over or host 10-person dinner parties, free of charge.

US home audio brand Sonos is also tapping the trend for in-context retail spaces by offering active product immersion at their new flagship in Soho, New York. The “living prototype of the Sonos listening experience,” includes moveable elements in the ceilings and walls that allow guests to manipulate the ambience and acoustics.

Similarly, Ikea is championing the joy of home cooking by enabling hobby chefs to host dinner parties for larger groups at the retailers’ DIY pop-up Dining Club experience in east London. The space will feature a homely kitchen able to accommodate up to 20 people.

Given the responsiveness and excitement from consumers we can continue to expect branding to extend beyond the aisle and outside of traditional mediums. The future of branding is in creating and facilitating pre-purchase trial settings in a contextually domestic setting; putting the consumer into the shoes of the experience.

Contributed by: Reaghan Roche, Integer Denver

Image source: Fast Company