High-profile retailers are adding a digital layer to physical shopping, reimagining the storefront shopper experience. “The metaverse is just an extension of our physical lives into the digital realm,” Kerry Murphy, founder and CEO of The Fabricant, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. Now, physical retailers are taking note of what the digital realm can offer in-person shoppers.

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The "Floor is Lava" game at the Nikeland/Roblox activation at Nike NYC: House of Innovation. Courtesy of Nike.

Nike introduced the Nikeland Roblox experience to its NYC flagship store in January. The first floor of Nike’s NYC House of Innovation has been “transformed into an augmented reality version of Nikeland,” said the brand. Through the month, shoppers can use Snapchat Lenses alter their own 3D avatars with Nike products, play Nikeland’s Pachinko Obby Ball, and compete in an AR-enabled version of the “Floor is Lava,” similar to the game offered on Roblox, adding an interactive layer to the traditional storefront format.

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The Nikeland portal at the Nikeland/Roblox activation at Nike NYC: House of Innovation. Courtesy of Nike.

“We see big opportunity in taking the reality around you and layering the digital world on top of it,” Carolina Arguelles Navas, group product marketing manager at Snap AR, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. “From shopping experiences to travel, there’s an endless opportunity to take the power of digital content and layer this onto the physical world around you.”

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Savage X Fenty storefront in Las Vegas, courtesy of Twitter.

Savage X Fenty’s new storefront blends physical shopping and interactive digital experiences that allow shoppers to visualize themselves as avatars. The shop, which opened in Las Vegas in January, is the first of five total storefronts that the brand plans to open in early 2022. Using AR body scans, Savage X Fenty offers patrons personalized product recommendations based on their body size and shape displayed on a 3D body scan. The technology, by Fit:Match, allows customers to “shop on their own terms and move seamlessly between a uniquely Savage immersive retail experience and the convenient online interaction they already love,” Savage X Fenty co-presidents Natalie Guzman and Christiane Pendarvis told Fashion United.

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The Artcade storefront, courtesy of Twitter.

Retailer Fred Segal introduced Artcade in December: the retailer’s first liminal shopping experience. In collaboration with Subnation, the Sunset Boulevard flagship now has “a new, Web3 shopping format that fuses the physical and digital worlds,” Subnation’s co-founder and Chief Managing Director Doug Scott said. Digital skins, crypto art and NFTs will accompany the store’s physical items and can be purchased using cryptocurrency. Artcade will also showcase monthly programs including NFT exhibitions, AR trunk shows, esports and live performances.

Fred Segal CEO and owner Jeff Lotman referenced a “massive transformation in the retail industry,” which inspired the brand “to completely reimagine how consumers will shop.” By leveraging interactive AR technology in physical spaces, brands are attracting creative talent and reinventing in-store consumer engagement.

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