Here are three ways to benefit from in-store content studios:
Make the store a content portal for digital sales
Many retailers are already using stores to fulfill online orders, but their physical footprint also has a role to play as livestreamed shopping takes hold. While still accounting for only a fraction of overall sales, brands as diverse as Ulta, Walmart, Nordstrom, Samsung, Petco and Bloomingdale's are already experimenting with livestreamed shopping.
In China as well as the U.S., the beauty category has been a pioneer in introducing livestreamed shopping into the store environment. Clean beauty brand Beautycounter’s Santa Monica, California, store recently opened with a content studio integrated into its design. Employees regularly livestream product demos that online shoppers can tune into and click to shop, while in-store shoppers act as de facto audiences. With China further along in this evolution, L’Oreal’s Shanghai flagship combines a similar livestreaming-friendly studio design with full integration of WeChat’s mini-apps, allowing for not just commerce but also personalized content based on the individual shopper’s profile.
Transform the store into a social and digital content stage
The role of social media and digital content in brand building has accelerated. As a result, influencer and user-generated content has become more essential to building brand awareness and affinity. Integrating production capabilities into store environments creates a polished, brand-curated backdrop for staff, shoppers, key influencers and other celebrities aligned with the brand to co-create the varied assets that modern brands require.
Always a trend-forward and culture-focused brand, Vans has long used its stores as literal live stages. With the recent introduction of its Channel 66 livestreaming network, the brand is extending the reach of this in-store content with interviews, DJ sets and other music-focused offerings. For Pride month this year, it partnered with LGBTQ+ influencers for several livestreamed store events.
Create a unique and experiential store destination
As traffic to stores gains momentum, responsive brands are offering shoppers environments that foster both connection and content. With its new barbershop near Ohio State University, 83-year-old brand Old Spice is hoping to draw in the area’s younger, progressive demographic. In addition to housing a studio where visitors, influencers and brand spokespeople can both create and be featured in real-time social and digital content for its own and its retailer partner channels, the brand has designed the space as a physical reflection of its transformation from the products your grandfather used to one that’s culturally relevant to today’s young male consumer. The location also acts as an event space where consumers can experience Old Spice as both a service and a place to gather with the brand as a creative backdrop.
South Korean beauty brand Villa de Mûrir also exemplifies this notion of store as a destination for connection amplified by content creation capabilities. A visual wonderland of the brand’s signature pink, its Seoul flagship store is divided into four distinct areas. On the ground floor are the Beauty Shop, a space dedicated to shopping, and the Open Studio, a production studio for its popular social content, while on the second level are the Makeup Shop, which offers cosmetic services, and finally, the brand’s Café.
The future is phygital and ‘‘phygi-social.’’ We have an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine physical stores as exciting destinations for experience, co-creation and other participatory forms of engagement. And as social and digital content play a larger and more influential role in brand building as well as sales, these destinations will play a concurrently larger role in the creation of that content, so now’s the time to consider how your brand can create its own “collab house” style content environment.
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