New concept turns retail store into a theatrical experience
NYC retailer Showfields, a brick-and-mortar showcase for mostly online brands, is getting in on the experiential act with a theatrical guided tour called House of Showfields.
To begin of the 20-minute immersive tour in the Showfields store, actors show customers the way through a hidden door on the third floor behind a bookcase (from a Showfields-hosted brand), according to a media release. The door leads to a spiral slide down to the building’s second floor, where actors then guide guests through rooms where they interact with products from brands that Showfields sells.
In an interview with RetailWire, Showfields CEO and co-founder Tal Zvi Nathanel expanded on what visitors (who must RSVP for the experience) should expect.
“You’re going through this very detailed and high-touch type of scene that you walk into,” Mr. Nathanel said. “From the door to the elevator to secret back doors … Everything is really fun and at each part of it you will meet a different actor who plays a different character and walks you through a specific kind of moment, which together have one cohesive narrative. The goal is to arouse your senses, give you a memorable moment, an emotional connection, allow you to connect with other people which are with you in that space right now … to give you a way to experience product in a fun way.”
Mr. Nathanel would not elaborate on how the experience’s narrative arc will maintain an element of surprise, but said that the actors will portray an array of intriguing characters, such as scientists, artists, creators and explorers.
Throughout the tour customers will be invited to touch, smell, eat and test the products. An actor in character as a spa attendant might demo a skincare product on a visitor or a chef in a cooking-themed scene might ask for assistance using cleaning product brand available for purchase. The tour is free of charge.
Performers in the House of Showfields experience were chosen via an open call on social/casting channels, through personal connections with those involved in the community surrounding the company and through an application page on the Showfields website.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think customers will take part in the House of Showfields experience, and do you think it will drive sales? Could/should other retailers implement guided tours or other forms of immersive experiences to more fully engage shoppers in a store environment?