WHAT DOES EXPERIENTIAL RETAIL EVEN MEAN THESE DAYS?

These days in brick-and-mortar retail circles, it seems all anyone can talk about is experiential retail. Immersive, interactive, technology-enhanced — these are all adjectives that get tossed around when executives are talking about what the store of the future needs to look and feel like. What does experiential retail really mean? For some it may be a swimming pool full of sprinkles or meditation pods. As design becomes a more intentional factor of the store experience, it's changing consumer expectations, especially for younger generations. As Doug Stephens, CEO of Retail Prophet, recently put it, "Millennials don’t suffer from shortened attention spans. Rather, they simply have a much higher sensitivity to things that are boring." But in reality, how many stores are actually as experiential as these out-of-the-box ideas? In a country with roughly 22.5 square feet of retail space per capita (more than any other country), the answer is: not many.