The proliferation of technology into retail environments is visible at all levels: from Walmart’s decision to place Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on all cases and pallets, to the internationally publicized Prada Epicenter store with its interactive dressing rooms and RFID-enabled garments and closets. Despite architectural firms and retail elites anxiously exploring how embedded technology could help create that unique shopping experience for the brand, there is a lack of documented examples and organized knowledge in this domain. Little has been studied on the different approaches in designing such an environment, or how an interactive retail experience should be carved. This paper describes an on-going archival research project originated from this premise. The goal of the project is to initiate a knowledge base in this domain, and to derive models of understandings that will help provide insights into the design challenges and parameters for future applications. This paper reports findings and analyses derived from the initial phase of investigation. Current use of interactive systems in the retail environment is reported together with discussions on general design and implementation issues. In addition, this paper also describes an initial attempt to formulate formal understandings in the field, that is, the proposition to use dramatic structure in conceptualising technology-supported retail design. The four constituent parts of a play or screenplay in Chinese culture, namely beginning, elucidation of theme, transition, and closure, are re-defined in the light of the customer’s experience in the retail store, thereby providing points of reference for respective design initiatives. The ultimate goal is to contribute to the understanding of the emerging field of experiential retailing.
|Keywords:||Interactive Systems Design, Interactive Retail Environments, Experiential Retailing, Interactive Design Archive, Online Portal|
Associate Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Research Assistant, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong
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