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Selfridges’ in-store cinema? That’s retailtainment

Darren Jackson is director of retail solutions at customer communications firm APS Group.

Darren Jackson

Darren Jackson

From how we browse to how we pay, the way we shop is changing, and bricks-and-mortar retailers are constantly looking to deliver a more exciting in-store experience - all with an emphasis on the entertainment factor. Dubbed by some as ‘retailtainment’, this concept is seeing retailers move away from a ‘sell, sell, sell’ mentality to one that engages with shoppers via interactive technology, in-store events and more.

Retailers are increasingly pushing the boundaries of their traditional offerings as they endeavour to deliver new reasons to shop in stores. The latest retailer to jump on the retailtainment bandwagon is Selfridges. Earlier this year, it became the first department store in the world to open an in-store cinema.

Run by independent chain Everyman Cinemas, the 60-seat theatre includes squashy sofas and a dedicated drinks table for each seat, with a concierge and an adjoining bar offering refreshments. Adult ticket prices for the mixture of old classics and modern releases range from £12.50 to £20.

At 105 years old, Selfridges is best known as a heritage department store housing fashion, beauty, homewares and interiors, as well as its famous food court. And yet, the store is no stranger to in-store entertainment: the rooftop of the building has, during its history, played host to an ice rink, a mini-golf course and even a shooting range. Today, a number of beauty bars and salons are dotted across the shopfloor - a move now being adopted by retailers including Primark and Marks & Spencer.

Those browsing for clothes may be convinced to visit the cinema and catch an afternoon show, while those leaving the cinema may pick up an item as they browse on their way out of the store. The retailer says of its cinema, unimposing and nestled on the ground floor, “take it or leave it”, allowing the decision to rest entirely with the consumer. It is a strong example of how bricks-and-mortar retailers can - and why they should - think more laterally, particularly when it comes to competing with online businesses.

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