Fashion retailers have a big problem: getting shoppers off the Internet and back into stores. Online shopping’s popularity has sent store managers scrambling to make the live shopping experience exciting again.
“The product isn’t enough now,” Material Good owner Rob Ronen told the New York Times. “If the shop is just about the product, people go online.”
This is why more and more retailers are curating their stores with art. Wall art and ambitious interior designs shift a store’s focus from a shopping experience to a creative adventure that retailers hope will tempt shoppers into brick and mortar stores.
It’s working, and for a number of reasons.
Art slows the shopping experience. 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.
Art can improve a shopper’s mood. A warm feeling from a store can entice a shopper to return and inspire brand allegiance.
Art can connect a shopper with more nuanced parts of the brain. It can provoke heightened awareness and appreciation of the beauty around them.
The bedroom-like intimacy created, for example, by ink drawings in a changing room, can help a shopper feel relaxed in new clothing items. This can work especially well for made-for-measure clients. Reluctant shoppers may find the art lessen the pressure they feel from onlookers that prevents them from enjoying the shopping experience.
Finally, art can change the way a shopper views the products they’re shopping for. Art can remind us that fashion is, itself, a genre of art. It can help us equate new clothes as joyous expressions of self, rather than of soulless consumerism.
However long the art in retail trend lasts, its storied success remains another public testament to the power of art in our everyday lives.