10 Retail Experience Ideas to Steal Right Now

10 Retail Experience Ideas to Steal Right Now

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

May 17, 2024

UK Omnichannel Report 2023 by RetailEconomics shows a shift towards physical retail: 61% prefer in-store shopping, compared to 39% online.

It shows that retail isn't dead—it's evolving. Today’s customers crave unique in-store experiences; the most successful brands deliver just that. 

Imagine stores that engage all your senses, cafés that inspire activism, and tech-savvy stores that seamlessly blend online and offline shopping. 

In this article, discover 10 innovative retail experiences that can transform your store and captivate your customers.

1. Aesop - Multisensory store 

Founded in 1987, first store opened in 2004 in Melbourne, 395 stores in 29 markets in 2023

Aesop, a premium skincare brand, has anything but boring stores. Think cool, minimalist spaces with natural ingredients and sleek packaging.

Each store is one-of-a-kind, designed with local touches to reflect the city's style

Sustainability and craftsmanship are cornerstones, with recycled materials and collaborations with talented local architects.

Aesop stores engage multiple senses beyond just visual appeal. 

They use scents (created by their in-house team), lighting, and sound to create an immersive and sensorial experience for customers.

The stores also feature sinks, seating areas, and treatment rooms, encouraging customers to linger, test products, and receive personalised consultations. 

It invites customers to pause and experience the brand fully! 

Despite their diversity, all Aesop stores embody the brand's essence of quality, honesty, and sensibility. The unique designs aim to maintain the brand's authenticity and avoid becoming a "soulless chain."

@kris.from.brooklyn The Aesop store at Greenbelt Mall, in Makati, is one of the most gorgeous stores I’ve seen. #aesop #fashion #style #design #interiordesign ♬ A Gentle Sunlight - James Quinn

What we 💙 about it: 

Aesop stores redefine retail as a multi-sensory adventure. It's experiential retail at its finest, transforming shopping into a luxurious journey.

2. Zapato feroz - Ferozland 

Founded in 2015 by Lau García and Héctor Nebot, first shop (Ferozland) opened in 2024 in Valencia 

Bigblue team at the grand opening, we are thrilled to work with a brand reimagining retail!

Zapato Feroz champions natural foot development with comfy, barefoot-style shoes for the whole family, using materials like leather and microfiber for long-lasting wear.

Ferozland flips the script on traditional retail, creating a playground where kids can be kids and parents can enjoy shoe shopping. 

Appointments elevate the experience with personalised service, while limited stock creates a nudge to buy. 

But they don't stop at shoes - workshops and activities build a community around child wellness, solidifying brand loyalty that keeps customers engaged. 

It's a masterclass in experience-driven retail that prioritises connection over transaction! 

What we 💙 about it:

Ferozland ingeniously combines a playful retail experience with community building, turning shoe shopping into a stress-free adventure that fosters brand loyalty.

3. Gentle Monster - Jentle Home  

Founded in 2011 by Hankook Kim, +40 stores in the world but mostly in the APAC region

Source: Designboom

Gentle Monster has quickly become a leader in luxury eyewear. 

Their Jentle Home collaboration with BLACKPINK's Jennie is a standout example. This pop-up store, shaped like a giant dollhouse, showcases Jennie's sunglasses designs. 

Each room features figurines wearing her glasses; the exterior was a big hit on social media! 

On top of that, Gentle Monster’s flagship stores are more than just places to shop. 

Their store in Seoul features moving faces and large art pieces, offering an engaging sensory experience. 

What we 💙 about it:

Gentle Monster blends retail with immersive art, turning their stores into must-visit destinations that create memorable shopping experiences.

4. Patagonia - Action Works café in London 

Founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, first store opened in 1973 in California, 70 stores worldwide

Source: Weglimpse

The Patagonia Action Works café in London is a unique retail space that aligns with the brand's commitment to environmental activism. 

It fosters community engagement by connecting activists and NGOs and providing a hub for organising and mobilising local climate action. 

The café offers immersive learning through workshops, expert-led sessions, and interactive elements, enabling visitors to gain practical skills and inspiration. 

Patagonia's donation of all profits of the cafe to local environmental NGOs supports the causes it advocates for, reinforcing its authenticity and transparency in its dedication to environmental activism.

Action Works Café merges Patagonia’s brand purpose, community, learning, and giving, creating a powerful retail experience that fosters positive change.

Source: Weglimpse

What we 💙 about it:

The unique café concept, with its visually striking design and interactive elements, generates buzz and encourages social sharing. It offers a memorable experience that deepens customer-brand connections and advocacy!

5. Farfetch - Store of the future at Browns Brook Street

Founded in 2008 by José Neves, acquired Browns in 2015

Source: Farfetch

Farfetch's "Store of the Future" concept, showcased in the Browns flagship store, seamlessly integrates online and offline experiences. 

By using Farfetch’s PLATFORM SOLUTIONS, they sync online customer data with in-store visits for a data-driven, personalised shopping journey. 

When walking through the store, you will find interactive mirrors that can offer recommendations, size requests, and payments, while AR and VR provide immersive virtual try-ons. 

They also streamline services with mobile payments and personalised support via channels like WhatsApp to boost efficiency. 

What we 💙 about it:

These strategies create a high-tech, personalised, and immersive brand experience, revolutionising in-store shopping and fostering customer loyalty.

6. TOAST - In-store workshop 

Founded in 1997 by Jessica and Jamie Seaton, 20 stores throughout the UK

Source: TOAST

TOAST, the UK lifestyle brand, is famous for its in-store workshops that align with its core values, like its commitment to traditional textiles and slow living. 

“Each of our shops across the UK is a welcoming space in which to slow down, discover our seasonal collections, learn more about our makers and techniques, and come together for creative events," according to TOAST's website

They collaborate with local artisans for unique hands-on experiences, fostering a sense of community and connecting like-minded individuals.

TOAST also promotes sustainability through workshops on mending and upcycling, encouraging customers to extend the lifespan of their items. 

Events like TOAST Exchange, where customers swap cherished items, and live styling sessions further enhance community engagement!

They leverage their physical retail spaces to host these engaging workshops, driving foot traffic and creating unique brand experiences. 

What we 💙 about it:

TOAST turns retail spaces into engaging community hubs, blending immersive learning with sustainability and fostering strong customer loyalty.

7. Jacquemus - Restaurants and pop-up stores 

Founded in 2009 by Simon Porte Jacquemus, first store opened in 2022, 4 stores and 5 corners in the world

Source: The Spaces

Jacquemus redefines retail with immersive, sensorial experiences like the "24/24", the "Bambimou", and the "Le Bleu" pop-up, which takes customers into unique, engaging places. 

His spaces are visually striking and Instagram-worthy, encouraging social sharing and creating buzz.

Jacquemus blends storytelling with his brand narrative, drawing from personal experiences to infuse collections with authenticity. 

Limited-time, exclusive pop-ups generate excitement and a sense of urgency. And by collaborating with local designers and artists, he adds a local touch to his retail experiences!

Following the success of Citron and Oursin, his upcoming restaurant-boutique in Saint-Tropez merges retail with gastronomy, similar to Ralph Lauren’s Ralph's Coffee and Louis Vuitton’s café.

What we 💙 about it: 

Jacquemus turns retail into a sensory adventure, blending storytelling, and creativity to create unforgettable experiences that foster deep customer engagement and loyalty.

8. Topology - Corner store 

Founded in 2018 by Ning Li, first corner opened in 2024 

Source: Fashion Network

Typology makes its mark in physical retail with a new corner store at Printemps Haussmann in Paris. 

Known for its online-only sales since 2019, the French skincare brand has ventured into physical retail after a successful pop-up, "La Serre Typology".

Their first physical store reflects Typology's minimalist and eco-friendly values, featuring aluminium reminiscent of their packaging.

Founder Ning Li describes this move as perfectly aligned with their principle of enhancing brand desirability, blending thoughtful design with responsible retail.

@elise.caill Typology ouvre un corner permanent ! Foncez 🤍 #typologyparis #printempshaussmann #skincare #beautytok #paris @Typology Paris @PRINTEMPS ♬ original sound - Lay Bankz

What we 💙 about it: 

Typology's new retail space combines minimalist design with eco-friendly materials, creating a sophisticated and responsible shopping experience that aligns with its brand values.

9. Balzac - Sustainability focus 

Founded in 2011 by Chrysoline, Victorien, and Charles De Gastines, first store (L’adresse) opened in 2014, 3 corners in France 

Source: Balzac

Balzac Paris brings its sustainable fashion to life with its first permanent brick-and-mortar store, L’Adresse, in Paris. 

It uses raw, local materials like wood and ceramics and features their signature leopard print motif.

L’Adresse offers a rich retail experience: customers can enjoy the scent of their first fragrance, Honorine, and listen to curated music that enhances the atmosphere. 

In the fitting rooms, recordings of co-founder Chrysoline de Gastines' voice provide a personal touch, making the space feel cosy and inviting.

The store includes a second-hand section called Le Kiosque, where customers can exchange items, a repair service, and spaces for events like yoga classes. 

This store offers a physical shopping experience and strengthens Balzac Paris’s commitment to sustainability.

@balzacparis Vous venez nous rencontrer à l’Adresse ?? 82 rue d’Hauteville du mardi au samedi, de 11h à 20h ✨ #paris10 #balzacparis #foryou #ladresse #boutique #deco #fyp #adresseparis ♬ son original - Compte.Vlog.L

What we 💙 about it:

Balzac Paris combines sustainability and style in its first boutique, offering a sensory, community-focused shopping experience that matches its eco-friendly values.

10. Gymshark - Community-centric design 

Founded in 2012 by Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan, first store opened in 2022, 2 new stores for 2024 in London and New York 


Source: Forbes

Gymshark's flagship store on Regent Street in London redefines retail with its innovative and community-focused design. 

The store serves as a hub for Gymshark's community, featuring elements like the "Community Table" and "The Hub" to foster interaction and connection among fans.

The store offers an immersive experience with "The Sweat Room" fitness studio for free classes and "The Pro Bench" for personalised fitness advice from experts.

The store is also made to take pictures with mirrors and Instagrammable places everywhere! 

Seamlessly integrating digital and physical retail, customers can browse online, reserve in-store, and pick up or return online purchases, ensuring a cohesive brand experience.

Gymshark's flagship is a powerful showcase of its brand, emphasising fitness (even their mannequins are squatting!), inclusivity, and community empowerment. 

What we 💙 about it: 

Gymshark's flagship store blends community, fitness, and immersive experiences, creating a lifestyle hub that deepens customer connections and elevates the retail experience.

Retail is no longer just about transactions. It's blossoming into a vibrant landscape of experiences that aim to increase customer engagement and foster brand loyalty. 

This article explored 10 innovative stores, such as Aesop's sensory haven and Gymshark's community hub, showcasing the power of creative retail.

But this is just the beginning! As technology and customer expectations evolve, the possibilities for creating engaging experiences are endless.  

What groundbreaking ideas will you bring to the table?

Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know.
No items found.