With reports of store closures dominating the retail headlines in 2017, opening a brick-and-mortar location may seem like a bit of a risky proposition. But YETI, the leading premium cooler and drinkware brand, bucked the trend and opened its first store in Austin, Texas earlier this month. The store is a one-of-a-kind retail environment that enables YETI to bring the many facets and dimensions of its brand to life.
“The flagship store is as much an experience center as it is a retail store,” explains Tony Kaplan, YETI’s director of consumer experience. “We hope to give people an authentic brand experience, as well as inspire them to enjoy the great outdoors.”
Loyal Fan Base
YETI has a loyal fan base, comprised of outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, anglers, pit masters and ranchers, plus your everyday consumer. To appeal to these brand enthusiasts, YETI partnered with Mood Media to create an unforgettable in-store experience.
“It’s truly about bringing people together — creating a next-generation destination space that fosters community,” says Ken Eissing, president of in-store media at Mood Media. “The store showcases visuals that bring to life the epic adventure of not only YETI’s durable products experience, but also that of their outdoorsy customers.”
The In-Store Experience
There are many components — and brand partnerships — featured in YETI’s experiential retail store:
1. Scent: To bring the elements of the outdoors into the store, YETI implemented Mood Media’s ScentAir System. Consumers are surrounded by the scent of a campfire while shopping.
2. Music: While roaming, shoppers can find a stage supported by YETI coolers that highlights music, videos and live shows.
“We recently hosted a handful of musical showcases during SXSW, each of which were streamed on Facebook Live,” says Kaplan. “Customers are also encouraged to find YETI playlists on Spotify, where we have guest playlists from musicians like Chris Stapleton.”
And when there’s no live music, a Bose music system plays throughout the store.
3. Display: Digital signage is a big part of YETI’s in-store experience. YETI partnered with Mood Media to install Samsung visual displays throughout the store. For example, there’s a display built into the side of an old caravan door, showing YETI coolers withstanding extreme situations like explosions and bear attacks.
There’s also a content zone that adds to the in-store experience. Shoppers can see visually dynamic, personal stories of YETI adventurers doing activities like skiing and surfing.
4. Creating Community: YETI’s loyal following has created a digital community. To bring that to life in the brick-and-mortar store, YETI installed a bar that serves up drinks with DIRECTV playing on television. The bar is a way for YETI fans to come together and relax and bond over a drink and a game.
Shoppers can also check out one of pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s original smokers, and get educated on the art of smoking meats.
“For us,” Kaplan explains, “it’s important to connect emotionally with our customer and to create memorable moments.”
Today’s consumers are expecting more from retailers, therefore, brick-and-mortar stores need to transform into something more than just another place to shop.
“We need to increasingly think of physical stores as branded, experiential media spaces,” says Eissing. “While it’s true we may see fewer brick-and-mortar stores in the future, those that embrace change will thrive. The successful stores will offer more elevated customer experiences with greater emotional connections to consumers. They’ll transcend places of inventory and become leisure environments.”
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