Digital Innovation and the Experiential Evolution of Retail

Manatt Digital

By Eunice Shin, Managing Director, Manatt Digital | Farnaz Zanjani, Manatt Digital

Since the rise and ubiquity of e-commerce, it’s no secret that brick-and-mortar retailers have seen a decline in foot traffic. Retailers are facing store closures, and some perceive digital as a threat to their existence. However, many retailers have also started to implement digital innovation into their retail spaces in order to give consumers a more meaningful experience and revitalize the appeal of brick-and-mortar retail. For instance, many mall operators are introducing concierge chatbots to provide consumers with relevant and personalized information. Other retailers are launching pop-up shops to integrate digital into their consumer experiences. Just a few weeks ago, the Manatt Digital team visited the Marie Claire and Mastercard partnered pop-up shop, The Next Big Thing Concept Shop in New York City, to view the shop’s omnichannel shopping experience. While retailers are deploying digital and revolutionary devices to make the shopping experience more unique, more consumers are opting for digital, cashless transactions, as the number of Apple Pay transactions has increased by 450% in the last year. Ultimately, the goal for retailers is to offer shopping experiences through innovative and interactive retail technology to make shopping enjoyable and convenient for consumers.


Source: Glossy

Real estate developer Macerich has been one of the key players in utilizing technology as a way to drive consumers to its shopping centers. Macerich recently partnered with WithMe, an on-demand retail platform that develops turnkey omnichannel stores for brands, to launch a smart retail concept at Santa Monica Place. The retail store includes a floor-to-ceiling smart display wall, a VR showcase, digital displays featuring branded video content, and cutting-edge fitting rooms with interactive mirror displays that allow customers to make purchases or request alternate products without leaving their rooms.


Source: PR Newswire

Simon Property Group (SPG) is another retail group that’s incorporating digital as a way to enrich the shopping experience. SPG has also partnered with brands such as Coach and IMG to create a compelling and interactive virtual reality (VR) experience to engage shoppers. This blend of traditional retail and digital innovation allows retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors, provide unique shopping experiences and keep consumers coming back to their retail spaces.

Retail group, GGP, has also leveraged the rise of digital trends in retail , as they recently opened a brick-and-mortar pop-up shop for online exclusive brands. The company used its Water Tower Place shopping center in Chicago to create IRL, or In Real Life, which allows consumers to have “an immersive shopping experience that fosters the human connection between you and brands in today’s digital age,” according to the In Real Life website.


Source: Chicago Tribune

Taking advantage of key opportunities in the digital space may be the way to make brick-and-mortar locations more appealing to a broader audience and keep them relevant in the age of e-commerce. Whether it’s interactive mirror displays to engage shoppers or location-based VR as an experience within the shopping center, embracing this change in the industry will revive consumers’ interest in malls and ultimately help retailers thrive.