How adidas Originals Uses Art For Retail To Provide A Unique Shopping Experience, Perfect For 2021

How adidas Originals Uses Art For Retail To Provide A Unique Shopping Experience, Perfect For 2021

Written by:
Lillie Therieau
Apr 12, 2021

Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but we think that the Chicago adidas Originals store exemplifies what the retail experience should be like in 2021. It’s an authentic, fun, artful, and value-forward shopping experience that communicates the mission and spirit of the brand. It’s definitely worth the in-person trip, which is a critical litmus test in the post-Covid-19 world. 

Beyond the pre-Covid online shopping competition, a post-Covid retail store needs to provide compelling reasons to visit, and prove that they take public health seriously. adidas Originals does that by creating a shopping experience akin to a visit to an art gallery. 

adidas Originals: The Flagship Store

The Flagship adidas Originals store on Milwaukee Ave in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood is bright and open. It’s adidas Originals’ largest store to date, with a warehouse-style lofted ceiling, and exposed brick. Everything is sleek, bright, and minimalist, allowing the products to pop off their shelves and pedestals like pieces of fine art. The sneakers, bags, and clothing are the most colorful things in the store, and draw the shopper’s eyes. 

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They have comfy Mid-Century Modern inspired armchairs and sofas for shoppers to sit on, and low rustic coffee tables to set down bags or armfuls of desired garments. Everything is relatively low, allowing for a clear view across the store. The store also has several live trees and large plants, which encourage the perception of peaceful open space. The fitting rooms are styled like an El train, complete with brushed steel walls like the exterior of one of Chicago’s train cars, and a bench identical to those you would find on any train platform in the city. 

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Along the right hand side of the store, there’s an open hallway, artificially created with a low brick wall. The hallway is home to adidas Originals’ art gallery, handpicked and rotated often by IPaintMyMind as part of our Art Rental Services. The store has been host to a variety of Chicago artists including Sam Kirk, Ethan D’Ercole, Kate Lewis, and most recently, Bee Harris. The prints are hung along the wall, encouraging customers to follow them physically along the duration of the hall. Below the artwork are a few sneakers propped up on grey metal pedestals. 

In different times, the Milwaukee Ave store has been host to concerts with local rappers, exclusive product launches, DJ sets, and more. Beyond being located in Wicker Park, they are a part of the community. The store’s engagement with local musicians and artists illustrates their commitment to their neighbors and their local community. They’re not only a store, but a destination where one can shop, appreciate art, listen to music, and keep up with high fashion and culture. 

 

What adidas Originals Is Doing Right 

At IPaintMyMind, we know a few things about retail design and what makes a retail space successful. The first and most important thing to realize is that online shopping is always going to be quicker, easier, and in the age of Covid-19, safer. To be a successful brick and mortar retail store, you have to offer something extra that a shopper simply couldn’t get online. In other words, any physical shopping experience has to be worth the trip. 

adidas Originals creates a unique shopping experience by making their retail space into a sort of art gallery. The design of the store itself is sleek, contemporary, and laid-back. It’s simply the framework that they’ve built to let their products shine. The most eye-catching things in the space are the adidas products themselves, as it should be. However, the rest of the space still functions well. There are comfy places to rest, large aisles for easy movement throughout the store, and fitting room and checkout areas can be quickly located. 

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The Flagship store focuses on tactile and aesthetic choices that will make shopping easier and more appealing. The large influx of natural light, and bright sun-like light fixtures make the garments look good on the shelf and on shoppers as they try them on or hold them up to examine. Small touches like plants improve mood, focus, and oxygen flow while shopping. The neutral colors of the walls, ceiling, floor, and clothing racks keep customers focused on merchandise and prevent overly stressful color clashing. 

Another critical part of the overall experience is the local buy-in and value-forward attitude embodied in the adidas Originals store. The IPMM art gallery wall makes it clear that adidas Originals: 1) appreciates art and design and the role that it has in shaping their products, 2) is engaged in the surrounding Wicker Park and larger Chicago community, and 3) prioritizes giving back and charitable giving as a corporation. These same values are expressed through their roster of musical events. Through these choices, adidas Originals effectively communicates who they are as a brand and what they believe in. 

The Benefits Of Art In a Retail Space

However, art in a retail space has an even greater effect. Art has been proven to increase mood, deepen concentration, and instigate higher levels of energy. It has a positive secondary effect on the retail experience, as shoppers take these benefits with them during the shopping experience. 

Art can slow things down, making viewers take in details that they may not have otherwise. A compelling piece of art can require time to digest. It can contain layers of meaning and delivers it in waves over many minutes and from different angles. This keeps shoppers in the store for longer periods of time and in a frame of mind to wander and discover. The creative discovery of art lends itself perfectly to the ideal mood of the shopper. It keeps folks browsing, searching for new things, and excited to meander around the store.

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Moreover, the creative activation of our brains that we get from looking at art can just as well be transferred to retail products. A piece of art can cause a customer to notice details of a product that they might not have, or to think more deeply about applications a certain product could have in their life. It can also cause them to appreciate the design, artistry, or craftsmanship of a particular product in a more compelling way. 

When art is part of a retail space, the products in that space take on the qualities of a piece of art. Customers view them differently, the same way that they might take in a painting in an art museum. As consumers, we often rush through the shopping process with purely cost-based blinders on, but as appreciators of art we act quite differently. A slower, more detail-oriented, and creative shopping experience is a better one, as adidas Originals can attest to. 

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Learn more about our Art Rentals, Custom Murals, and Art Consulting services, perfect for retail spaces of all shapes and sizes. We’ll work with you to understand your brand, mission, design sensibilities, and art needs to curate the perfect collection of artwork for your store. Plus, you’ll be supporting local artists and giving back through sustaining our arts programming for chronically underfunded Chicago Public Schools. 

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Written by:
Lillie Therieau
Apr 12, 2021

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