Case study provided by Float4.
The concept of a ‘physical shopping experience’ has begun to shift from a transactional chore into an opportunity to create memories for prospective clientele. In response, retail stores are putting greater focus on the in-person retail experience. Nowadays, consumers have started to search for storytelling and connection, rather than convenience and immediacy; consumers want to engage with brands in a more personal, physical way.
Immersive digital experiences and installations are being woven into the fabric of physical spaces across a multitude of sectors, including retail environments. With these digital experiences, the interactions geared towards consumer engagement can become more personalized and memorable.
The Carousel at Bloomingdale's is a store-within-a-store, featuring two 35-foot-wide video walls that deliver thematic content; a result of a 157 year old institution’s convergence with digital experiences.
The goal was to create a retail environment that draws shoppers towards products meticulously curated by Bloomingdale's. The client wanted to create a unique environment that aims to connect shoppers to the items that surrounded them, highlighting the proliferation of immersive environments in everyday spaces.
Float4 handled the program strategy, coordination and infrastructure design for The Carousel. The team is also currently developing the six pieces of content featured on the video walls for The Carousel’s first year. LG Electronics provided the video wall, which consists of 35 ultra-thin 55 inch LG displays in a 7x5 configuration. It measures 10 feet high by 35 feet wide.
The six pieces are made to fit Bloomingdale’s retail ‘seasons’. Working together with the team at Bloomingdale’s, Float4 incorporates the season’s featured items into the capsules, designing an animated composition that mixes live action footage with real-time graphics. Each piece is about 10 minutes long, which allows customers to experience a full scene while in the shop itself. Shoppers find themselves in a standalone boutique within the high-definition video walls, surrounded by commodities related to the ‘season’s’ theme.
Digital experiences in retail stores should focus on the concept of ‘connection’ - creating a personal link between a person and something or someone else. Combined with a ‘wow’ factor, connection is a powerful tool for spreading a brand’s image or message. For Bloomingdale’s, the Carousel is a way to connect their clients with up-and-coming brands, specifically ones with small but loyal audiences and limited distribution. It’s also an opportunity for them to test what products are working and what aren’t, on a
Within a customer’s shopping journey lies different opportunities for connection. Once these opportunities are identified, the brand can make their customer’s journey more engaging and more memorable via digital installations and experiences. After finding all the products they wish to highlight in the season based on their consumer research, Bloomingdale’s will then work with Float4 to create a piece that will highlight the common thread between the products.
Technology as a whole is quickly evolving, presenting more opportunities, and challenges, for producing a stand-out installation. Building a digital experience is an investment. In order to build tech-based experiences for consumer engagement in a cost-effective manner, a brand’s end goals must be clearly defined. Defining these goals will alleviate the risk of falling prey to expensive tools that may not give the desired results. Content should have primacy over everything. From there, the right technical tools can be chosen to deliver the message, whether it’s the latest content management system server or a simple LED screen and demo-reel.
For The Carousel and the content being shown on it, display tech and content distribution were the most important technological facets of the project. At The Carousel, the video walls replace the approach of featured shelving and displays, instead showcasing the significance of items via creative capsules on the video walls.
The Carousel was developed to create a new shopping experience in a traditional setting, and allows for the client to offer up its own new products and brands. By doing so, Bloomingdale’s hopes to highlight the transformative element of the digital shop; a door to an entirely new retail environment.