Feed the Giraffe: Making Memorable Retail Moments

Feed the Giraffe: Making Memorable Retail Moments

Feed the Giraffe: Making Memorable Retail Moments 1440 428 Chute Gerdeman

What is it that creates a memorable retail experience? We keep hearing about brick-and-mortar being dead, but if brick-and-mortar is dead, what is Amazon doing right now? They’re opening bookstores, and they’re creating hundreds of pop-ups. They’re undeniably the current retail kings, and now they’re committing to physical retail.

We often talk about what it takes to create a memorable retail experience… a cool concept, good flow, nice graphics, digital screens, a strong point of view, and dynamic customer service. But then at the end of the day, a memorable experience can be as simple as a trip to the zoo to feed the giraffes, a concept that our Design Curator, Mary Klie, reminded us of. So, what’s really happening when you feed the giraffe?

Feeding the giraffe is unusual in the every day, because lets be honest for the most part they’re inaccessible. Usually they ignore you, so it’s kind of unexpected when you stand there with a piece of lettuce, and they take it right from your hand. Suddenly you’ve had a real connection, and you’re at the center of the giraffe’s universe. You’ve got a lasting memory all thanks to the zoo.

The zoo feeds giraffes all the time, but as commoners, we don’t get to. So, they take it from being just an operational duty, to bring us what is really cool. That’s why you go to the zoo. It’s the access that they give you to that memorable experience. But brands can give that same access and provide the portal to a truly memorable moment and emotional connection. Those that tap into the unique elements of being unusual in the everyday, not easily accessible, and truly unexpected, are finding success in creating memorable retail moments.

Gentle Monster

In Korea, the high-end eyewear brand Gentle Monster has literally set the stage for a unique customer experience. The concept formed around the theme “The Play” is based around three elements: actors, stage, and audience, with each room designed as a scene that collectively tells a story.

This being the brand’s 6th flagship representing an innovative experiment, customers feel like they’re not only browsing trendy product, but also getting to be a part of the Korean art scene. Robotic arms in the storefront window beg you to come in and explore, while the many rooms within the space leave much up for interpretation. Customers are tapping into the emotional context of what it all means, and likely creating a story that is uniquely theirs.

Tom’s Virtual Giving Trip

Sure many people aspire to travel internationally, but philanthropic brand Tom’s has tapped into that aspiration with an even greater purpose. After hearing feedback about customers’ desire to go on a giving trip, founder Blake Mycoskie looked for a way to make that not only possible, but also more accessible. Inside the Venice Beach flagship, customers can now don a Samsung headset to experience a 360-degree immersive trip to Peru. Here, they get to see where their contributions go and experience almost firsthand the joy of their gift.

The brand has always been well known for transparency, but this is more about creating a connection with the customer to the lives they’re impacting with their purchases, something that the Tom’s team gets to experience regularly. While not inexpensive to implement, the brand sees the greater value of being the conduit between the customer and the benefactors of their cause, while also continuing the conversation about important issues.

The Park-ing

After a quick trip to Ginza, fashion guru Hiroshi Fujiwara recounted an experience that stuck with him, surprisingly in a parking garage. An obscure restaurant access point through the garage intrigued and inspired him to recreate the unpredictable experience in Japan with a lifestyle space dubbed ‘The Park-ing.’

A bare bones space with exposed brick and concrete is the platform for some of the most exclusive brands and café paying homage to Harajuku culture. And while “Park-ing” may be free, identification is required for entry. No purchases without proof. Collaborations, curated products, and a rotating list of pop-ups make this underground scene the hot spot for those that are hip to know. What one might see as a dull development has been transformed into an entirely new realm of shopping experience.

Are you ready to “Feed the Giraffe?” Share your memorable moments on social with #feedthegiraffe.

Photo Credit: FunnyPicture | Gentle Monster |The Impression | Sassy | ArchDaily


A collection of insights research and observations across retail, restaurant, c-store and grocery. Helping brands provide a better experience for their customers. Enjoy.

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