PREDICTION: Experiential Design WILL BE THE KEY FACTOR IN KEEPING THE BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORE ALIVE

One of my many New Years Resolutions is to write more often, so here goes my first shot at what will hopefully become a long series of blog posts.

Experiential Design is a topic that is of particular interest to me lately, as I believe this is the future direction of design, and will ultimately converge with the field of motion graphics.

Currently, experiential work is most often employed for more artistic pursuits, such as public space installations, museum exhibits, and concert visuals.   This isn't to say that there aren't large brands making use of experiential design, but by and large, it is safe to say ED has not reached the marketing mainstream yet.  

Of course, this won't be the case for long.  Brands are already thinking more about experience, and employ these techniques at corporate meetings, trade shows, and in building lobbies.

So what is the next phase for ED? Allow me to make a prediction.

Experiential Design will be the trigger that gets people out of their homes and back into the stores.  

As consumers purchase more of their needs online, they go out for in-person shopping experiences less.  And stores have little power in persuading shoppers to come in person rather than purchasing online, as shopping online offers so many more conveniences.

So what can a brand do to make their brick-and-mortar locations seem worthwhile to customers?

Raise the level of experience!  And I'm not just talking about having customer services people there.  It will be about the brand connecting with consumers on a more emotional level, and make the store a place shoppers WANT to visit.

The leading edge of this can already be seen, with some brands maintaining flagship stores, even though many of their sales may occur online.  They understand that branding is about making a connection with consumers, and that giving them a great experience in person keeps the brand at the forefront of mind when an online purchase decision is being made.

And the companies that choose to ignore Experiential Design?  I believe that companies like this will not be able to maintain their brick-and-mortar locations and will end up operating strictly online, or shutting down business altogether.

Bold predictions perhaps.  Or maybe its obvious.  I don't know.  But I can't wait to find out.