Went to the Canvas8 event 'Sizing up the retail consumer: the new rules of engagement' on Monday. It was a bit of letdown in terms of content, with a lot of stuff that you would hope that the audience (mainly advertising and marketing people) should know already, but Dr. Alex Gordon gave a bit of respite talking about how physical retail experiences needed to appropriate more of the 'carnivalesque' (a term coined by Bakhtin). He articulated and put context around a couple of things that I've been thinking about. A couple of points:
- I liked the quote that 'Westfield was outdated the minute it was created'
- When it comes to malls, the choice of stores narrows because of rent, etc creating a homogenous shopping landscape. At the same time the online retail space embraces diversity
- One of the ways he suggested that retail spaces could be improved was the introduction of ludic/cryptic messages. I liked the idea that online and offline retail environments could be linked with puzzles that could be solved in either world
- Was obviously supportive of the idea that 'childish play' needs to be incorporated into the retail environment
- Also intrigued by the idea of 'active physical involvement' with the retail space. I think the examples were of instore gyms and stuff (which might not be the way forward if Dave Trott's HMV/Virgin example rings true)
Anyway, some interesting bits and pieces. I think the presentations are going up on SlideShare at some point, so watch out for that.