Online shopping has become increasingly popular in the last few years, with many anticipating the demise of the shopping mall. Instead a new trend has emerged and stores have started to offer more than just products and services. Stores are tapping into our social desires and creating environments that promote conversation and interaction. Here are a few major players that focus on experience over transactions.

Apple

Along with an inviting floor layout that embraces modern, sleek and clean lines, Apple allows consumers to engage with its products. Not only can customers play on the latest gadgets for hours, they can also learn about the technology behind them. Here’s a few fun facts about the genius shop:

  • Apple offers free workshops to learn about the programs and software used on Apple products. Apple does not discriminate; workshops are available to anyone with any name brand device.
  •  One-on-one memberships are available for 99$/year, which includes help with projects, like creating a presentation or editing a movie.
  • The Apple Store uses a self-checkout model, where customers can use their cell phones to pay for in-store products. 

Microsoft

Nostalgia plays a big role when dealing with how people interact with brands. Microsoft happens to be one of those brands that many people have grown up with and miss. Everyone remembers the infamous Window’s XP wallpaper “Bliss” (you had it, your mom had it). Nostalgia will lead you to the Microsoft Store, where you may find yourself dancing outside the storefront or playing Call of Duty using the latest Xbox and Xbox products.

Sport Chek

Sport Chek has done a great job at re-branding this year with two new flagship stores in Square One and Yorkdale. Sport Chek is committed to providing consumers with products that enhance their athletic performance. In order to do so, customers can test products before purchasing them. Clients interested in finding the perfect kicks for soccer, running or any sport have the opportunity to take a comprehensive gait analysis in the store (where you walk or run on a gait analysis treadmill to determine what shoe is best suited for you). There are seating areas and charging stations, just in case you end up spending your day in the store finding that perfect shoe. 

The Jordan Pop-Up Store

Although the Jumpman himself was not on the court for this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto, his presence was felt off the court. During All-Star Weekend, the Jordan Store opened up at 6:23 a.m. (ode to his jersey number) on 306 Yonge street with an eager crowd lined outside. After the doors opened, the pop-up store was open for  72-hours straight. Amongst many classic and exclusive Jordans, Drake’s OVO Air Jordans were a crowd favourite. Sneaker-heads could customize their footwear with lasers and scanners provided on the bottom floor of the store, along with an on-site barber and slow-brew coffee station. If you missed the opportunity to experience the Jordan brand, the store will be reopening this fall.

Cineplex

We’ve come along way from Blockbuster and overdue fees. The internet has changed the movie industry and many feared that the people would stop attending movie theaters and opt for a Netflix and Chill kind of night. Although Netflix and online streaming are options, many movie-goers still crave the experience of watching a movie on large screen with the latest technology.

Cineplex is one of Canada’s largest entertainment companies and its joint venture with SCENE has revamped the movie theater experience in more ways than one. The SCENE loyalty program allows people to earn free movie tickets or keep stacking points to upgrade to more expensive seats. Games like Timeplay is a social interactive experience that gives movie-goers a chance to earn bragging rights and prizes before the film, which is an upgrade to long trailer previews. Not to mention, technologies like AVX, and the many IMAX options make box-office hits a must-see in theaters rather than on your television or computer screen. 

Life’s all about experiences and these brands know it!