In a recent article Ben Silbermann, CEO of Pinterest, discussed the powerful role of visual discovery and how this is set to change the way consumers engage in retail stores. Silbermann referenced his childhood experience of visiting malls not just as a place to shop but – he says – as a place to be. The layout of the mall is entirely focused on effectively exposing customers to new products in an interesting context, leading them to experience something novel at every turn.

He admits that visualisation in this sense is not new; what is new, and rapidly developing, is digital visualisation and the exciting opportunities it presents for retailers. Consumers are now able to make those mall-type discoveries on their smartphones. As a consequence, expectations are high for retailers to create a transportive visual experience to engage their markets.

Silbermann points to the growing preference for video images over words in most areas of the web – for example Facebook and Instagram – with people choosing to share their lives visually rather than textually. The exciting challenge for retailer brands is to find a way to help bridge the gap between the virtual and the real world. Innovative digital signage has the ability to step in and carry the consumer from real to virtual and back again.

We took great pleasure in bringing this idea to life in two quite different ways while working on clients’ projects for Godiva and Volkswagen.

For Godiva – a luxury Belgian chocolatier – a massive 36m LED screen showcased the brand’s chocolate artistry and products. In this way, the mouth-watering effects that chocolate creates were elevated into a cinematic and utterly enticing experience – an example of building on the power of the imagination by creating an aesthetically engaging visualisation that had customers experiencing the Godiva products even before entering the store.

Volkswagen sought to convey the ‘joy of Volkswagen life’ with the aim of connecting customers to the pleasures of car ownership. Again, the audio-visual element dominated with a 12m interactive video wall, and appealed directly to customers’ imaginations by putting them in an experience encompassing not just the VW product alone, but the whole world that comes with it. The customer is transported there through the creative use of audio-visual interactive tech that links the real world to the digital world.

As Silbermann points out in his article: “People don’t want to see products on a white background. They want the emotional engagement of seeing an outfit, of matching how will I look in that outfit? From there, we can work backwards to find the products they truly love.”

We take exceptional pleasure and pride in finding ways to fulfil our clients’ visions to transport potential customers beyond their product-on-a-white-background into the world that the brand and the product represent.