Last week I was in Boca Raton for an exclusive event with the jewelry company I manage, ZYDO Italy. We were having our spring trunk show in Neiman Marcus. I have to say that we were fairly busy, but I got the chance to walk around the mall, the Town Center at Boca Raton, a Simon Mall.
Unfortunately, there were not too many examples of retailing creativity and excellence. I constantly mention in this blog that retailers have to develop a unique store concept and deliver a remarkable customer experience to be successful. That is the key to keep customers interested and engaged. Check out my other posts in this blog for ways to break the mold.
In the mall I found a couple of small installations that grabbed my attention and more importantly the shoppers' attention. The first one is the "beauty bubble" by Spanish skincare brand Natura Bisse, whose image you see below.
I found this cocoon like enclosure inside Neiman Marcus. It provides a sterile environment that is filled with 99.9% pure filtered air which is free of contaminating particles as well as viral, bacteriological and allergenic agents. Inside the "bubble" guests are treated to a number of beauty treatments. Michael Ann Guthrie, national sales director for Natura Bisse says that this environment "...stimulates you, but it relaxes you at the same time. Celebrities and sports people have been doing this forever..."
This installation is certainly a successful move for Neiman Marcus. It sparked its customers attention, added an additional dimension to the shopping experience in the store, and presented the beauty products in an innovative and compelling setting. Note that Neiman Marcus focused on its main target market, the ultra affluent, developing an experience that only celebrities, sports people, and now Neiman Marcus clients can enjoy.
Neiman Marcus was able to bring this improvement into its stores by fostering a closer partnership with its vendor, Natura Bisse. I have already discussed this key tactic in my previous post, 3 Tactics that Retailers Should Learn from Trader Joe's. The Neiman Marcus - Natura Bisse partnership is another great example for all kinds of retailers, pointing to the importance of strong retailer-vendor ties to create exclusive store experiences.
The second installation worth mentioning is the fundraising bin that you see pictured below.
It is located in the mall just in front of the CH Carolina Herrera store. It is a fundraising tool for the Simon Youth Foundation (SYF). SYF provides educational opportunities for students that are at risk of dropping out of high school. Donors can place a coin or even multiple coins on the apposite slots on either side of the fundraising bins. The coins slide down and then roll around the bin, like water going down a drain.
This bin appealed to me because, as the previous installation, it provides an engaging and different experience from the usual and commonplace. It also takes into account its target market. Given that SYF benefits high school students, in most cases the donors are younger shoppers. Therefore, the bin was designed to appeal to a younger demographic that enjoy and are attracted by the fun aspect of the bin.
This example should be an additional demonstration that even a little detail, like a donation box, should be conceived with the ultimate goal of delivering a better shopping experience.