'Tis the Season when retail shines and shows off enticing retail experience approaches. After all, it's the 2011 Holidays and retailers have been working hard to engage and connect with customers - from magical holiday windows to online communications and in-store interactions.
This past Saturday I experienced - with my daughter - retail windows in New York City. Here follow my Holiday 2011 Observations!
Holiday 2011 Retail Windows
Holiday retail windows in New York City are a must-see! The good ones truly capture the magic of retail and draw mesmerized crowds.
Our favorites [i.e., where we lingered] were Bergdorf Goodman, Lord & Taylor and Macy's.
We had to go by Linda Fargo's Bergdorf Goodman Holiday windows, which -as always- are mesmerizing. My photo - seen here - doesn't do justice to the creativity and story-telling taking place. Definitely check out Bergdorf's Blog, 5th and 58th for the Carnival of the Animals which includes photos that you can truly pour over.
Lord & Taylor's windows were based on a 1941 sketch asking what Christmas is made of and featured the artwork of kids from shelters and local schools. See Lord & Taylor Got Local Kids to Design their Holiday Windows.
Macy's Herald Square windows focused on "Make a Wish" and included interactive Make-a-Wish ornament design kiosks - a fascinating integration of the digital experience with the real-world. Otherwise passive window viewers get to interact with them and create something which connects Macy's with those viewers. [Below are pictures of the kiosk and our ornament.]
The Digital Retail Experience & Macy's Holiday 2011 Windows
The last time we experimented with Macy's digital holiday windows experience ~ 2 years ago, my daughter sent a letter to Santa again, via an interactive kiosk. What was different this time was the ability, via mobile, to get a copy of what we had created and have it live beyond that ephemeral creation experience.
User or Customer Experience Reactions
Once the ornament created, we could text a code [based on cryptic instructions]. The texted code generated a URL which in turn invited us to leave an email address, confirm age and name. Once confirmed, I had the opportunity to publish the ornament on my Facebook page. Now, when I go back to the original text message URL, it loads a picture of my ornament - but I can't email the URL.
Recommendation: add social sharing to that URL
I got the confirmation process wrong the first time. I entered my daughter's age [she created the ornament]. Although I saw no error message [remember this is happening on a mobile phone screen], I decided the next time to enter my age and email. It worked. Yeah.
Recommendation: add a few more explanations
I hate having to go through multiple registrations on my smart phone. It's difficult, and it's time consuming especially in a public setting [i.e., streets of NYC]. Although I eventually connected with Facebook, I would have appreciated an easier process.
Recommendation: fewer steps
I submitted an email address and yet, to date, I've received no email confirmation of my ornament. What a missed opportunity to connect with me, especially after having such an intense retail experience. I'm wondering why I even bothered to go through the registration process.
Recommendation: be smart about what you ask customers for. Think how to use emails, especially those obtained in a permission based way, to connect with customers and strengthen the relationship.If you had the opportunity to create a Macy's Make-a-Wish ornament, I'd love to hear your reactions.
By the way, according to DDI Magazine, Macy’s Herald Square Awarded Best Holiday Windows in New York. Bergdorf and Tiffany also received top honors.
If you love store windows, you might enjoy these two previous blog articles:
- NYC's 2010 Holiday Windows
- Engaging The Consumer... Via Store Windows!
- Retail Window Displays Matter
What do you do with your store windows? Do you vary them according to the seasons and holidays? Do they express your creativity? How do you use them to connect with customers?
What do you for the Holidays? Do you modify your retail experience? What has worked for your business and your customers?