The retail sector is increasingly focusing on experiences, because of the proven importance of creating emotionally engaging experiences for in-store consumers (e.g. Shaw & Ivens, 2002).
Since economics (and marketing) are progressing from a goods to a service dominant logic (Vargo & Lusch, 2004), inducing ‘experiences’ has become a means of communication as well as a possible differentiation strategy. In this current ‘Experience Economy’ (EE from now onwards), customers look for personal, intuitive relationships with brands and retailers (Pine & Gilmore, 1999, 2008). Experiences are the new source for value creation.
But the concept of Pine & Gilmore’s EE is being criticized. The literature that emphasizes the importance for retailers to focus on experiences often lacks definitions of central concepts and empirical support (e.g. Bäckström & Johansson, 2006). Furthermore, experiences are always context- and situation-specific (Dewey, 1938). This implies that ‘experiences’, as conceptualized in Pine & Gilmore’s first generation EE, do not necessarily work in a European retail context. The present parameters for creating and directing memorable experiences are authenticity and originality. Design of retail environments should be directed towards values and creating appropriate ‘atmospheres’.
Whereas the company was the frame of reference for value creation in the first generation EE, in the current second generation (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004a) the dialogue between customers and businesses forms the basis for the co-creation of values which are meaningful and truly unique for the individual customer.
This Ph.D. project aims to link the body of knowledge of an EE with the growing discipline of retail design. Because retail design is an emerging discipline in the field of interior design, it may well benefit from valuable and relevant input of several other disciplines, such as marketing, which, in their turn, may learn from specific methodologies of design research.
|Keywords:||Retail Design, Interior Design, Experience Economy, Values, Co-Creation|
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Arts & Architecture, PHL University College and Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium
Professor, Department of Arts & Architecture, PHL University College and Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium
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