From Stores to Stories: Immersive Experience and the Future of Retail
On this episode of Gensler’s Design Exchange podcast, we explore the growing trend of immersive experiences and consider how designers can help realize new frontiers. As consumers seek more meaningful connections in a digital world, brands are increasingly incorporating immersive experiences to better engage audiences.
Brandon Larcom hosts Gensler’s Bob Weis, Rob Bischoff, and Lara Marrero, as they unpack what truly makes an experience immersive and how designers play a major role in shaping the landscape. Drawing on decades of past experience leading Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Weis discusses fostering a sense of belonging in physical spaces. Digital Experience Design Leader Rob Bischoff highlights the role of technology innovation in the built environment and Retail Leader Lara Marrero dives into the future of retail and how design can increase consumer engagement, spark collaboration among creatives, and convey brand values across diverse experiences.
The conversation focuses on better defining immersive experiences, merging technology with in-person interactions and creating places people love through repeatable, higher capacity designs. The podcast discussion offers a vision for expanding new frontiers while keeping the user experience central.
Top 5 Takeaways
- An immersive experience engages all the senses and allows users some agency or impact on the story.
- Physical retail serves to inspire customers and allow brands to understand them better through data, while digital enhances the in-store experience.
- Connecting a brand’s values and products to locations like stadiums through layered experiences, keeps audiences engaged and returning more often.
- Personalization through understanding individual customer preferences and relationships with a brand allows for storytelling that opens minds to new discoveries.
- Accessibility is ensured by designing for higher efficiency and repeatability at lower price points, while sustainability is achieved by partnering with local communities to bring exciting concepts to more places.