Has Experiential Retail Become Too Experiential?

With the opening of Samsung’s 837 store in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, a new era of experiential retail has arrived. This “technological playground and cultural destination” ditches traditional retail in favor of an immersive brand experience. There are no sales or products to buy. Instead, the store offers various exhibits and experiences like a virtual reality tunnel, social galaxy, and a three-story screen for special events. Pretty cool stuff.

As a marketer, the idea of creating “physical manifestation” of a brand that engages consumers in an authentic way is amazing. It’s an opportunity to infuse the brand into culture through one-to-one engagements, experiences, and content. It’s every marketer’s dream.

However, as a consumer, I’m a little more skeptical of this hyper-experiential concept. Sure, it sounds cool. Maybe I’d check it out. But once the novelty wears off, I’m struggling to find a reason why I’d ever go back. The concept doesn’t appear to have one.

In order to stay relevant to consumers, brick-and-mortar stores must continue to promote their most essential benefit – the instant gratification of buying a product. Experience cannot get in the way of function.

What do you think? Is experiential retail becoming too experiential at the cost of utility?

Image Source: engadget.com