The Rise of Experiential Commerce

By Sunny Dhillon | TechCrunch |

“$43 million and the only thing you can buy in it is a coffee.”

So said Samsung’s Senior Director of Store Development Michael Koch about the company’s flagship Manhattan “popup”—Samsung 837—though “popup” is an understated description for a 56,000 square-foot cavern with interactive art, virtual reality, lounge areas, a recording studio, and a three-story 96-screen display wall. The most shocking thing about it isn’t what’s there, but what Koch, who led the project, says about the place:

“I don’t want you to buy anything in it.”

This may seem antithetical to the purpose of a “store,” but it captures a critical understanding – experience is the core to the future of commerce.

Experiences Everywhere

So what is experiential commerce, and what does it look like?

The takeover of experiential commerce is a figure with a thousand faces. It’s in the long-run transformation of stores into showrooms. It’s in Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky’s ambitions that the company’s Experiences platformwill stand alongside home rentals as a core part of the business. It’s in Red Bull spending $65 million to drop an Austrian daredevil out of a space balloon and livestream it to millions of viewers on YouTube. It’s in American summer vacation spending rising by $10 billion, or 12.5%, in 2017.

You have to buy tickets to San Francisco’s Color Factory – which markets itself as 12,000 square feet of “color experiences” – months ahead of time, and escape rooms have swept the nation.

Read more at TechCrunch.