Have you ever heard of a win-win situation? I got one for you! Before telling you, let’s have a look at some challenges, before.
Smaller cities in Germany are losing (young) population as well as local stores. The retail is either replaced by online shopping or by the common conglomerates, which are standard in every town or city such as H&M. Local stores are not able to pay the rent, especially if the turnover does not stabilise at an appropriate level. The consequences are vacancy or an increase of the above mentioned conglomerates, which take over the free space. But wait, wouldn’t that turn cities into boring and quite similar spaces? Exactly! And since living in a city often is reasoned by experiencing diversity, surprises and local culture, this does not make a lot of sense, does it? Also, some initiatives or creatives might seek for the usage spaces without wanting to pay a lot of rent or without needing a big store. Do you have an idea on how to solve this dilemma?
Friends of mine founded a start-up called SPACITY. Their aim is to support local retailers through innovative experiences for customers. Today, they organised a full day of experiences for stores, creatives and customers in Lüneburg. I joined them and captured my experiences.
First stop was an electronic store that is managed by a local businessmen and that sales all kinds of good electrical and technical products. At this stop one was able to experience the interactive gaming lab, which was organised by students of the major Digital Media at Leuphana University. The lab was virtual reality through the lens of oculus rift. Of course I had to try it and it was stunning. I never experienced anything similar. The idea is to move from space to space in 360° and 3D. During the 5 minute journey I traveled from a custom desk, trough a forest with many butterflies, to a rainy city and into a modern apartment. There the walls got closer until I was in space – really. I could see the milky way and was somewhere above planet earth. Comets and stars collided around me whilst rotating around the sun. It felt so real that I wanted to spread my arms and touch everything – it felt as I would be able to. This experience will forever remain and make me remember this specific space AND store. Now, I have a connection, now I am somewhat fixed to the place.
Next stop was a local book store. Two particularly funny and blessed actors produced an entertaining atmosphere at and around the entrance. They interacted with the people, trying to inspire all to read „again“. Do not get me wrong, I usually do not like it when people try to hook me into their store or bar. But these two were truly amazing as they created this clever, improvised and unique experience. Just imagine: the next time walking by this book store, one associates entertainment and eventually buys a book in that local store.
Later in the day, I attended a vernissage of different artists in a furniture store. The artworks usually matched the interior design of the exhibition space. This is a nice opportunity, since such a collaboration embodies individualism and creativity. The furniture, thus, is somewhat embedded with beautiful art. So, customers may get inspired to buy the works of local artists together with the furniture. If you are interested: the exhibition lasts until the end of May.
The evening was filled with a flea market and of course a nice celebration. Those examples above, however, showed me that through providing positive associations and unique adventures to local customers, everyone wins.
After this day of innovative shopping, I am positively overwhelmed by impressions and ideas. Can you imagine to experience this kind of cooperative shopping in your city or store? Feel free to write about your thought on this in the comments below. I see a lot of potential in this unique approach.
If you are interested in the start-up SPACITY, check it out here!
And here is the Facebook page of Human Flashboy.