Ask a high-end watchmaker to define the ultimate retail experience, and it’s likely to involve white-glove service, Champagne, and a sales associate capable of explaining the finer points of a balance wheel to a client presumably thirsty for both knowledge and expensive bubbly.
But in today’s experience-driven economy, where “consumers begin to collect experiences as consciously and passionately as they once collected things” (to borrow from Alvin Toffler’s eerily prescient 1970 polemic, Future Shock), the key is to make the retail transaction a lasting memory. Beyond offering conventionally good service, you’ll want to elevate it into the realm of storytelling by creating an experience your clients will talk about and, even more importantly, share with their friends (on Instagram, naturally).
Last week, the Swiss watchmaker Oris announced a new mobile pop-up experience that dovetails perfectly with contemporary retail thinking: This month, the brand is debuting a vintage Airstream trailer that will serve as a mobile retail boutique where both new and existing collections will be available for purchase or preorder. In addition to a bar and seating area, the trailer features an open-concept watch display allowing consumers to try on timepieces at their convenience.
“We felt the hint of nostalgia associated with a vintage Airstream would make it a great canvas to showcase our brand’s rich mechanical watchmaking heritage while also touting its innovative, forward-thinking designs,” VJ Geronimo, CEO North America for Oris Watches, said in a statement. “Additionally, the Airstream will allow us to have a unique presence at a variety of different lifestyle and community-based events consistent with our brand values.”
First is an upcoming appearance in New York at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival in Prospect Park—in conjunction with the Brooklyn retailer The Clay Pot—followed by a pit stop at the Newport International Boat Show Sept. 13–16, thanks to a partnership with Saltzman’s Watches. Most pop-ups, I’m told, will be staged in conjunction with a local Oris retailer.
The brand confirms that the Airstream will run into 2019, though additional pop-up dates have yet to be finalized.
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