Will a window to Disneyland bring Disney fans to the mall?
Disney’s theme parks continue to offer unique, immersive experiences and the entertainment juggernaut’s branded properties are popular with audiences of all ages. That hasn’t kept Disney’s retail stores from experiencing the same pains as most other mall-based retailers, however. To address its challenges, the company is redesigning the Disney Store with technology meant to lure customers back with a window into the Magic Kingdom.
Disney’s newly redesigned stores feature a giant video screen at the front, which streams live footage from Disneyland’s daily parade down Main Street, according to Bloomberg. The prototype stores also offers visitors birthday celebrations with Donald Duck, and will soon stock the type of Mickey Mouse ears and cotton candy available at the theme parks. At present, four of the six stores slated for the new layout have gone live with the new attractions. The article did not state if other events besides the daily parade might be streamed in the stores and along what schedule.
While enjoying a visit to a parade by way of a live feed may seem like a pale stand-in for the real thing, this type of entertainment-by-proxy has grown surprisingly common.
For instance, live streaming footage of people playing video games has grown in popularity, with GamesRadar noting that one popular YouTube playthrough channel has more than 250,000 subscribers. Viewers treat watching the action on today’s graphically advanced video games almost like watching movies.
Given Disney’s penchant for creating experiences, it seems the store could go further to tie in-store entertainment to what was happening on the screen, beyond just cotton candy and mouse ears. There’s the potential for creative uses of video chat or touch screens to enable back-and-forth interactivity, for instance. With virtual reality growing in popularity, that too could be implemented to put Disney Store visitors closer to the real action.
Fans do appear to be visiting the Disney Store to experience the on-screen parades, according to Bloomberg, with around 50 people sometimes showing up during mid-week hours at the prototype stores.
In keeping with the theme of tying its various experiences together, Disney has also redesigned its e-commerce website, according to Bloomberg.
- Disney’s Fix for Retail Slump: Stream Theme-Park Events in Store – Bloomberg
- No-commentary playthroughs are the Netflix of video games – GamesRadar
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has Disney created an effective bridge between its theme parks and retail outlets? How can the company successfully strengthen that tie to drive store traffic? How can other retailers without a Disney World-esque presence leverage in-store streaming to attract and keep customers?