LOS ANGELES: Disney, the entertainment giant, is testing a new prototype retail store in an attempt to “immerse guests in the brand like never before”.

Michael White, SVP/Chief Technology Officer at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, discussed this subject during the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Shop.org Conference.

“Whether it’s an action figure doll or a costume, we’re extending Disney storytelling,” he said. (For more details, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Disney is strengthening its retail brand.)

“And we put that front and center with a design that makes the product the hero.”

The organization’s legacy stores have a deliberately retro look, whereas the new prototype incorporates white walls, a streamlined feel, and LED screens – as well as more items for adults and teenagers.

According to White, these stores were “designed with flexibility in mind”, thus enabling the company to highlight different Disney media brands, such as Marvel’s super heroes or Star Wars themes, as “content hits the marketplace”.

Employees, some dressed as Disney characters as at the firm’s theme parks, open the new stores each day with a special celebration. Staff also join visitors in an interactive playroom, which boasts tables, games and touchscreens.

Disney is using the prototype stores to test the physical redesign and its related interactive features, monitoring both sales and customer feedback.

“We all know the retail landscape, both in bricks [and mortar] and online, is changing. Nearly every aspect of the industry is being disrupted, not just by technology, [but also] by changing preferences of our consumers and their [behavior] patterns,” White said.

In helping fuel this type of engagement, the company uses the huge LED screens at the front of each store to show content like movie trailers, and to livestream parades from Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom.

“This feature is a huge hit at our prototype locations. It’s not uncommon to see 75 people gathering at the lease line [store front] specifically to watch the parade.”

Sourced from WARC