business news in context, analysis with attitude

This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either ... they are similar, but not exactly the same. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.

Hi, Kevin Coupe here, and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I’m coming to you this week from the Dreamscape Experience, located in the Westfield Century City Mall, in Los Angeles, which essentially is a 3-D virtual reality experience that, quite appropriately, refers to itself as “immersive.”

There are three different experiences - one in which you go into the “Deep Blu,” going undersea to rescue a family of whales … another in which you go on an Indiana Jones-style adventure to “break an ancient curse and find (a) lost pearl” … and the one on which I embarked, journeying “to a wildlife refuge in space and encounter the galaxy's most endangered species.”

One gets equipped with all sorts of goggles and sensors, and the experience is pretty realistic - which isn’t surprising when you find out that Steven Spielberg is an investor. You can reach out and practically touch things; when you go up, anyone with a trepidation about heights (I would be one of those people) ends up feeling a tightening in the stomach, and when monsters come after you, you flinch.

It is all lots of fun - a 21st century experience.

But there is, of course, a business lesson in all this.

It seems to me that this is the stuff that retailers have to think about - creating immersive experiences for their shoppers. Not necessarily 3-D virtual reality experiences (though that certainly may happen down the road), but certainly immersive in the sense that retailers tell their story, create a narrative, and formulate an experiential approach to various departments. This is critical, I think, in departments that merit it, especially because there are so many departments in the store where - because there is little product differentiation - it is difficult for retailers to distinguish themselves.

Not everybody has to do the same thing, certainly, but there will be retailers out there that will raise the bar … and technology itself will raise the bar on what consumers expect and want. Retailers will have to beet that challenge…24 hours a day…seven days a week…365 days a year.

There is no option.

That’s what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: