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Forbes has a story about Wonderland!, described as an example of how retailers - in this case, Target in New York City - are "investing in experiential marketing to spotlight the uniqueness and benefits of a physical shopping experience and to drive engagement and in-store and digital traffic during its most critical of selling seasons."

What does Wonderland! look like?

According to the story, "Oversize tinsel shimmers at the entrance, the subtle swish of the giant metallic streamers welcoming you into a space ribboned with resplendent red-and-white candy stripes and the sounds of Sam Smith’s 'I Feel Love' - Target’s holiday-campaign theme song - playing in the background … Futuristic but cozy pods welcome families in to type their own holiday stories into a keyboard; the words transform into an animated video and personalized poster instantaneously. A Lego station invites passersby to add the plastic bricks to a small panel, which is then placed on a wall; hundreds of such panels will come together to create a holiday-scene mosaic. A nook off to one side explodes with pine-scented bubbles, with holiday-themed bottles of Mrs. Meyers hand soap stacked in the shape of giant Christmas trees."

That enough experience for you?

Forbes writes that "the entire experience is completely free to the public, and in an act of corporate philanthropy, Target will donate up to $1 million to Toys for Tots through one feature of Wonderland! that enables visitors to literally submit their holiday wishes through a pneumatic tube, triggering Target to donate $40 per wish."

The business case is this: "Barcodes throughout the space enable visitors to not just see and touch the items on display but also order them their devices through the Target app or Target.com. Attendants are available at every station to assist visitors in downloading the Target app and explaining its features. Guests can choose from Target’s suite of shipping-and-delivery services, such as Drive Up, same-day-delivery with Shipt, order pickup and free shipping—showcasing Target’s ability to meet the speed and convenience of online retailers."
KC's View:
Not every "experience" has to be over the top, but I think that every bricks-and-mortar retailer has to be focused on the quality of the experience that every shopper has - it has to be relevant, resonant, compelling and differentiated. That'll mean different things for different brands and to different people, but it has to be factored into the retail equation.