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Retailtainment: Retail’s Latest Trend

February 17, 2022

When we think of shopping, we typically think of walking around a brick-and-mortar store, choosing an item, taking it the cashier, paying for it, and leaving. Online, you would add the item to your cart, review the cart, check out, and wait for its arrival. It sufficed, but research has shown that consumers are left wanting more. This is where “retailtainment” comes into play. Because of its involvement with retail, it also plays a role in the commercial real estate world.

What is Retailtainment?

Retailtainment is quite literally the combination of retail with entertainment. It helps enrich the shopping experience with entertainment activities unique to a brand.

The infusion of these two sectors is not a new concept. Decades ago, retailers began introducing activities like play centers to keep children entertained while their parents shopped. Fast forward a few years, and the trend has evolved, in part from the increase in online shopping which opens an entirely new platform of consumer engagement. Its evolution is also due in part to the onset of the pandemic; many stores had to think of new ways to get customers back into the store. In-store experiences can take shopping from being a transactional chore to a social activity and even stress-reliever.

Retailtainment is driven more by experiences rather than products, both online and off. Think about how we feel when we receive a personalized song recommendation on our Spotify playlist or are offered a free cup of coffee at our favorite boutique. These methods make us feel seen and provide a continual onslaught of relevant engagement. Retailtainment combines these elements, from personalization to interactive formats, all with the joy of shopping.

The memory of the experience often leaves behind a much more meaningful imprint when compared to that of a mere material purchase. These experiences are then often shared with peers which subsequently drives customer acquisition and loyalty which is why brands are focusing on its utilization more and more.

Examples of Retailtainment

Retailtainment has many different forms, both in-store and online. One in-store form includes adding lifestyle sections to the floor. This can be done by creating a simple lounge area with comfortable chairs and access to Wi-Fi and snacks. More interactive examples include Nike’s new flagship store in New York City which has features like a mini basketball court and a customization shoe bar or House of Vans in London which features a skate ramp in their basement.

The digital realm is also a powerful outlet for retailtainment. One of the first examples brought to market was TOM’s virtual reality technology which virtually sends shoppers to Peru to introduce them to the children that received a pair of their donated shoes.

No matter the platform, experiential retail creates share-worthy content that only furthers a brand’s brand awareness and engagement. Commercial real estate brokers need to take this into account when considering a client’s retail needs.

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