Rethinking Physical Storefronts For Experiential Brand Building

Rethinking Physical Storefronts For Experiential Brand Building

PSFK researchers explore how brands are using physical storefronts to deliver experiences that showcase their unique offerings and commitment to customers

  • 16 january 2018

Brands are leveraging physical storefronts and spaces to deliver experiences that showcase their unique culture, offerings and commitment to their customers. As part of this, companies are transitioning from transactional brick-and-mortar retail to creating brand experience hubs that promote key consumer touchpoints like social purpose, wellness, community and lifestyle.

As more and more consumers interact with these new experiential spaces, they are beginning to understand and seek the benefits of increased opportunities for community and loyalty.

PSFK researchers look a closer look at companies that are creating best-in-class brand experiences. These purpose-led spaces create experiences that present a brand’s perspective on social and environmental issues that align with the company’s larger mission and purpose. Here are a few of our favorite examples:


To showcase its solar panel and backup battery storage technology, Tesla launched the “Tiny House” tour in Australia, a small traveling house powered by 100% renewable energy via the company’s two-kilowatt solar system and Powerwall.


Collaborative workspace provider WeWork offers fitness classes including spinning, meditation, dance and kickboxing alongside its office services, in common areas, on rooftop decks and in other designated spaces that the brand has turned into “pop up” fitness studios. The WeLive studio also includes co-ed sauna and hot tub, yoga classes designed for working entrepreneurs and products from companies that work out of WeWork offices.


Lululemon’s in-store meditation spaces in Manhattan and Brooklyn offer guests relaxation pods where they can listen to self-guided meditations. These activations show the athleisure brand’s move to embrace a broader definition of wellness that encompasses the mind as well as the body.


Nespresso enlisted architecture firm Universal Design Studio to create a retail space that elevates the senses and optimizes coffee enjoyment, highlighting the brand’s commitment to coffee. Visitors can test different coffees, experiment with recipes and enroll in a workshop on best brewing practices.

Amazon x Calvin Klein

At Calvin Klein’s holiday pop-up in NYC, none of the products have price tags and shoppers can expect to pay the same price as they would on Amazon. Instagram-worthy photo ops include gigantic model cutouts and millennial-pink benches with charging ports built into the design. The mirrored dressing rooms feature adjustable lighting with settings like holiday theme, along with an Alexa to play any requested music.

Creating these one-of-a-kind experiences will also compel customers to post and share with their networks, helping amplify the buzz around a brand. In the same vein, partnering with brands with different product or service offerings for specialized activations can highlight the best of both brands and target their intersecting consumer base.

However brands choose to approach these activations, it is clear that they need to take advantage of the power of a physical space to establish unique and compelling experiences for their customers. For more insights, check out our recent research paper, Experiential Brand Building.

Lead Image: Lululemon

+Brand Development
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+experiential marketing
+Experiential Marketing
+fitness / sport
+Market Research
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+sport & fitness

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