Once upon a time, retail stores were places you went to buy things. These things might be very specific or very general. You might buy your goods on the spot or go wandering to other stores to compare. If it occurred to you to take a photo to remember something, sometimes you got in trouble.
These stores and their goods were top secret, apparently, although anyone from the public could walk in. God forbid someone found out what price a retailer was selling their product for and what products they had on shelf. (By the way, many retailers still adopt this practice. Never pull out your phone in a Pak’n Save or Levi’s store or you might get trespassed. Trust me, I know).
In today’s digital world our shopper expects so much more from a physical retail store. They can teleport to a retail store by shopping on their screen at any hour of the day or night, anywhere in the world. So, bricks and mortar retailers must deliver much more: they must deliver experiences. Experiences that bring to life an image that adds to your own cred, your brand, your community. Fun, fame or fortune.
As such, the art of visual merchandising is now on steroids. Stores that want to deliver engaging experiences with their shoppers need to be able to tell their story in a highly visual and immediately shareable way. Welcome to the era of the “Insta-worthy” retail store.
Just as there is art and science to visual merchandising, creating Instagrammable spaces and experiences require delivering a visual moment that is the perfect balance of personal, shareable and visual.
If it didn’t happen on Insta, did it really happen?
Instagram-centered design means curating a physical space or experience so a 1080 x 1080 pixel image is as perfect as possible.
A well-recognised example is the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) which launched in 2017 in New York and is s a perfect example of an Insta-worthy strategy. Now with an outpost in San Francisco, each room in the museum was designed to allow the guests to take a picture in a magical, sweet and highly curated setting. At the time of writing this article, there are #museumoficecream 173,527 posts and #MOIC 67,172 posts.
This has extended into more retail collaborations with MOIC x Sephora launching a six-piece makeup collection. There’s also a MOIC x Target collection, which included a range of limited-edition kid’s clothes and ice-cream all to be purchased through Target.
Shoppers will continue clicking away on their smartphones, so it is important to think about the elements which will inspire them to snap away. There are a number of things you need to consider:
- Lighting that allows for photos to be shot on smartphones properly.
- The experience needs to enhance the visit - you are bringing customers into the store and you don’t want them coming simply to take a pic, you want them to engage.
- Make sure your logo or signature style is incorporated so that your business can be recognisable online.
- Think about your hashtags and what your brand could, should and needs to be a part of.
- Create novelty – what is going to capture the imagination and interest of your shopper to get them to come and engage.