Five examples of experiential retail in 2018

TechHQ reflects on the retailers who went above and beyond to create experiences worth stepping inside a store for.
31 December 2018

Tiffany & Co sign at the EmQuartier luxury shopping mall. Thailand. Source: Shutterstock

The past year has been a rough ride for the high-street.

Many retailers have been forced to shut their doors for the final time due to the fierce competition of today’s online shopping options.

Even the spirit of Christmas seems to have been dampened ever so slightly with the eerie emptiness of Toys R Us stores across the UK- not to mention the absence of the brand’s classic festive advert.

Yet while 2018 may be remembered for yet another year of retail woes, a more positive development has also defined this year.

Many retailers are standing strong against the current, developing new and innovative ways to ensure consumers flock to their storefronts.

Enter: experiential retail. With today’s consumers craving ‘experiences’, retailers are realizing the need to innovate or get left behind. Customer’s no longer want to simply walk into a shop, buy your product and leave. Why would they, when they could do this in the comfort of their own home?

By creating immersive retail experiences, brands can drive consumers back to their stores, ensuring they not only leave with your products, but also with memories and a connection.

With the year coming to an end, let’s reflect back on a few examples of retailers who have gone above and beyond to create experiences worth stepping inside a store for.

Tiffany & Co

Even a brand that is 181 years old is realizing the modern need to innovate. The American luxury jewellery store opened a contemporary space in Covent Garden this year that encourages interaction, personalization and performance.

Named The Style Studio, this luxurious space encouraged shoppers to create their own look with the #MakeItTiffany personalization bar. Visitors were also welcomed to enjoy performances, art installations and talks from creators.


This French beauty brand really went above and beyond this year with features in its Manhattan flagship store.

The shop included an area dedicated to social media with a video live feed of the company’s US Instagram account; the opportunity for shoppers to “cycle through Provence” on stationary bikes against a breath-taking French background; virtual reality (VR) experiences including a 360-degree view in a hot air balloon, and a treat of a personal hand-massage using L’Occitane products.

Charlotte Tilbury

Another beauty brand leveraging emerging technologies in order to transform customer experience is Charlotte Tilbury.

The retailer has integrated augmented reality (AR) technology into many of its stores. This is a smart move considering 61 percent of consumers have reported a preference for stores that offer AR experiences, with 40 percent of these saying they would pay more for products if they had the opportunity to experience it through AR.

AR-powered mirrors were installed in the brand’s London store, enabling visitors to have their faces scanned by the “magic mirror”, which then allowed them to ‘try on’ many of the brand’s iconic looks.


This health and fitness brand has transformed its Manhattan store into a totally immersive environment for shoppers.

The store epitomises art, culture and connection, offering visitors weekly yoga and dance classes, movie screenings, a fitness studio, free Wi-Fi, and even communal tables for meetings.

Lindsay Claydon, director of brand and community Europe at Lululemon told Campaign Live: “Experiential leaves the guest with a deep understanding and sense of what Lululemon is about.

“Our thinking is that it’s not enough for us to tell people to live an active and healthy life– we want to show them how to do it too.”


This popular sportswear retailer has truly captured the meaning of experiential retail with its Fifth Avenue store.

Features include a set of bleachers for customers to watch real-life games on; a juice press to quench the thirst of busy shoppers; a print shop where guests can create personalized Adidas clothing, and a miniature running track where customers can have their running technique analyzed by experts.

This year has been a rough ride for many struggling retailers. But those brands willing to think outside the box and implement new and exciting technologies will be sure to provide today’s tech-savvy customers with an unforgettable experience that keeps them coming back…