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Retail Theater: When a Store Becomes the Stage

Today, shopping is much more than a means to checking off our to-do lists. It has become an experience, often called retail theater, and sometimes, customers are a part of the show.

What can customers expect when they walk into a store, or shall we say, onto the stage?

How can brands create retail theater to entice, and engage, consumers?

Well, the answers are limited only by the imagination. Now, when shoppers walk inside a store, or even window shop from the sidewalk, it’s showtime!

What is Retail Theater?

Some stores are engaging customers inside with hands-on activities, inviting them to interact with the product to entice them to buy. This has been going on with cooking utensils for quite some time, but now brands are doing it with clothing.

In Las Vegas, SuitSupplya glamorous men’s store filled with glamorous employees—has in their front window a rather unglamorous task: sewing. They tailor their products right there in the front window. It's something that attracts attention from almost every passerby because something real is happening in their window.

suitsupply sewing front window

Photo credit: SuitSupply on

Retail Theater: a term once used as a metaphor has become real.  

In New York, Godiva does something similar—they have chocolate makers handcrafting delicious goodies right there in the window on 5th Avenue. Surrounded by the wonder that is New York, tourists actually stop to stand near the window and they stay for a considerable time, watching the man dipping strawberries in chocolate. It's no surprise the store is usually packed, especially during the holidays.

godiva-chocolate-store-fifth-avenue-en-manhattan-88941253Photo credit:

Burberry, for instance, introduced a concept that brought the digital age and mobile movement to the store. Consumers were immersed in an audiovisual experience where they engage with emotive brand content. Consider the experience of a hybrid physical and online experience where innovative touch screens and digital walls surround buyers and bring an iconic brand into the future of retail theater.



The more time goes by, the more we think that theater—the ancient art of dramatic presentation—is key to creating a differentiating retail experience. Because, let’s face it, action attracts.

How will you set your stage? When you're ready for some fresh ideas, request a consult. We've got plenty of them!

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