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It’s all about experience! How digital media technology can drive the retail renaissance

April 19, 2021

“We’re fundamentally social creatures, so it’s no wonder people are gravitating back to physical shopping. But you don’t go to the mall just to buy a pair of pants anymore,” said George Linardos, ANC CEO. “We’re talking to a digital generation now, a highly social generation with an eight-second attention span and $600 billion in consumer purchase power. It’s time we start speaking their language and designing for them.”

In days gone by, shopping brought people in and experiences like food courts kept them there. The future flips that model, and Linardos aims to make sure developers and retail brands keep up. That future model sees retail driven by experience: Draw consumers with compelling experiences, and they’ll then spend. Today’s digital media solutions are an especially effective, relevant and powerful way to bring that magic to existing and new places.

A new generation of media

Imagine riding up an escalator not just through levels of a shopping center but through a 3D ocean with sea creatures swimming overhead and around you, or an entire wall of transparent digital media that can transform the minute you approach, beckoning you to a virtual try-on session.

There’s a science behind this immersion, one that generates endorphins, memories, experiences, revenues and the desire to return. Digital consumers expect constant and fantastic sensory engagement, and where they receive that is where they develop loyalty. Retailers are not just competing with Amazon but also with streaming media, social media and video games.

ANC sees this as the opportunity to turn the retail experience into a Disney-esque state of engagement that begins the moment shoppers set foot on your property. With ANC, the Cleveland Cavaliers turned an entry corridor into a ‘power portal,’ a curved LED tunnel utilizing Soundscape Technology that surrounds fans in hype. For The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Pier 17 in New York’s South Street Seaport, ANC created a digital canvas in a 60-foot atrium that continuously runs LED content across three levels. Custom no-bezel columns allow uninterrupted viewing as shoppers traverse floors. With seamless technical design and integration, as well as ANC’s creative studio and content management system, each floor has become part of a continuous, engaging story.

Pier 17 at New York City's South Street Seaport

Today’s digital media offers a variety of solutions like architectural-grade media glass that is transparent one minute and comes to life as a digital canvas the next or flexible, lightweight products that are highly customizable and affordable.

“Some people think digital media and immediately assume Times Square. It doesn’t have to just be giant, static ads; it can be an elegant piece of 3D digital art or an interactive floor that transforms into different surfaces like ice, lava or a pool of circling sharks,” said Linardos. “The ordinary is no longer enough. We see the world all around us as the canvas for unforgettable media experiences that will draw people back into the physical world. And once there, we have seen, they stay and they spend.”

The result, of course, is a new approach for a new generation and a new day in retail.