b'American Girl immerses customers with micro-experiences in its stores, like the Doll Hospital (left) and 70s-themed Julies World (below). 1 Novaks fellow panelists, Sarah Hoffman, chief marketing officer THE MICRO-EXPERIENCEThe role of the store has shifted from a place to buy things to a place to experience something. at Drybar, and Barbara Carlson, senior director of global creative The overall experience in a store is an amalgamation of numerous fac- services at American Girl, also shared how their brands approach tors, from lighting and design to displays and dcor to music and scent. micro-experiences.A micro-experience narrows the focus, zeroing in on one smallHoffman said: We try to deliver on our brand promise of bringing action that communicates the feel of the brand to the customer in ahappiness and confidence to women everywhere and deepening that big way. emotional connection with her.French beauty brand LOccitane en Provence, for example, usedFor Drybar, a chain of hair salons focused solely on blowouts virtual reality technology to take customers on a hot-air balloon ride(professional blow-drying sessions), micro-experiences manifest via at its New York City flagship in August 2018.exclusive partnerships, such as in-salon ads featuring the cast of Like While customers see themselves sailing through the clear, bluea Boss, the 2020 comedy starring Tiffany Haddish, Rose Byrne and skies over the south of Francethe gorgeous region the brand isSalma Hayek; pop-up blow-drying lounges at the U.S. Open; and DIY built aroundan employee provides a hand massage using the LOc- content available online to style your hair at home.citanes signature products. Our strategy, really, is to complement or recreate that amazing Micro-experiences like the one offered by LOccitane were one ofexperience you get when you come to a Drybarwhether its getting many topics covered at the National Retail Federations annual con- ready for a big meeting or a special occasionand bring that to her in vention, held in January before COVID-19 forced the cancellation ofall the parts of her life, Hoffman said.large-scale events across the country. For American Girl, the uber-popular Mattel-owned doll brand, Robyn Novak, vice president and managing creative director ofits highlighted micro-experience was the blast-from-the-past, architectural and design firm FRCH Nelson, highlighted LOccitanes70s-themed Julies World, an immersive experience opened in VR trip as an example of exactly what a micro-experience should beOctober 2019 at its New York City flagship.while moderating a panel called Delivering Micro-Experiences forWe need to make sure that we are being relevant and engaging to the Major In-Store Impact. girl and, of course, to our core narrative and storytelling, Carlson said.Novak had a list of characteristics retailers should check off beforeFor the blissfully uninitiated, each American Girl doll has her own introducing micro-experiences in their stores. They should be: name and backstory. Julie Albright is the brands 1970s doll, complete Small-scale and physical, something customers have to come intowith a flower in her hair and a penchant for speaking out for girls rights.stores, visit brand websites or attend events to encounter; The space is meant to recreate Julies world, featuring a self-Authentic and ownable, acting as an extension of the brand itself; ie-ready Volkswagen Beetle and beaded curtains galore.Valuable in augmenting the core transaction and overall experienceThe companys flagships in New York and Chicago also have hairnot just existing for the sake of having a micro-experience; and salons, with seats for girls and dolls alike, and a Doll Hospital to Manageable for the retailer, while still being scalable. mend a well-loved companion.NATIONAL JEWELER 27'