VMSD - November 2013 - (Page 64)

co ChECkINg OuT Interview by Steve Kaufman Gideon D’Arcangelo The vp of creative strategy at ESI Design (New York) helps retailers become educators and community organizers. What do ESI’s retail clients need? A way to make all that physical real estate useful and compelling again. And the answer? The next chapter of retail will be that people are more interested in relationships with their retailers than in simply doing a transaction. People will want to go to a store because they can learn something, talk to someone smart, participate in an event, socially interact, all the things you can’t get online. Example? Petco is doing something interesting. Its big-box stores offer a number of services, like dog-walking, pet training and inoculations, but the scale of the environment is too large for this experience. They recently opened about 50 Unleashed by Petco stores offering the same price benefits as their big boxes but at the properly intimate scale, so you know and trust the staff. A Night at the Museum eSI made its name designing interactive experiences for the American Family Immigration experience at ellis Island, the brooklyn Children’s museum in New York and the Dream Cube Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World expo. “Stores need to feel like fun learning environments, almost like museums,” D’Arcangelo says, “all interactive and participatory. museum work is our roots. We’re just applying those principles to retail. It’s a natural fit.” How about clients of ESI? We’ve helped Staples develop a smaller-store format that makes it really easy to access inventory that’s online but also gives people a reason to go to the store. It’s creating that third space Starbucks has perfected so well, a meeting hub where you can get a cup of coffee, get some printing or copying services done, hold a small business meeting and perhaps buy some product. What are your roots? I worked on a very early interactive media project called the Global Jukebox with music scholar Alan Lomax; the project was funded by Apple and the National Science Foundation. We knew in the early 90s that we were on to something that would transform the world, interactive media that would change from a one-way broadcast system to a two-way or multi-way conversation. You spoke at IRDC about retailers’ community engagement. What was the takeaway? It’s time for retailers to become community-centric, linking to their local neighborhoods. After all, they have this existing built real estate, so make it a compelling place for people to visit. Who’s doing a good job of this? It’s part of Lululemon’s operating model. They hold free yoga classes every Sunday morning. They also engage local brand ambassadors, who teach about trends. So it doesn’t have to be just computer classes. No, learning doesn’t have to be confined to consumer electronics. The product may be simple, but what you do with it in your life never is. x 64 November 2013 | vmsd.com IaN LEwIS CampbELL , NEw YOrk Such as? Such as an event space, for local non-profits to use. Or a place to hold parties – booksignings, speaking engagements, educational events, local services. Or a gallery space for local artisans. Or a meeting space for community groups. http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - November 2013

VMSD - November 2013
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
Design Detail
Green Today, Gone Tomorrow?
One size fits all
Retail’s New Era
Be Something Amazon Can’t
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

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