The next step, four years after the Digital Wellbeing Showroom, was to develop an innovative concept reacting to, and anticipating rapidly changing retail requirements driven by the shift from selling consumer devices, to marketing the content delivered by an emerging category of apps and online services on mobile devices like the iPod and at the time new iPad.
The AppLounge was a pop up concept store embedded in the social meeting space of the Meza Bar on Wardour Street in the heart of Soho, London from September to October 2010.
Consumer electronics used to be sold by advertising their added value properties, like improved sound quality, higher definition displays or increased storage capacity at ever lower prices. These qualities could be easily showcased in a shop. Once these products reach a certain technological maturity, differences between devices are less about the quality of their hardware and shift to the available content and the presentation and navigation enabled by the device’s operating system. It takes time to experience this and typical consumer electronic retailers are not set up to make customers dwell for too long.
This convergence leads to competing offers by consumer electronic retailers, telecom service provider stores, game shops and music and film sellers. Initially content marketing was driven by the ever increasing volume of available choices offered by different content provider services. By now consumers are overwhelmed by choice and instead look for advice to find the content, applications, services and accessories that match their lifestyle interests.
The AppLounge concept is build around the notion of slowing customers down. Creating an environment that affords people to linger and explore. Instead of separating devices, software and accessories in different departments, the space is curated to group items around lifestyle themes.
Three thematic islands showcased a mix of curated content, services and accessories informed by different lifestyles:
“Urban Voyager” : accessories and apps for the mobile urbanite to make your city life easier, stay entertained, and always look smart.
“… on the Town” : Apps to share with your friends and manage your social network
“City Dweller” : Stuff from home you take with you on the road into the city.
Each island displayed a range of lifestyle related device accessories but also a selection of watches and even a perfume. Each collection was matched with a custom cocktail available from the bar. In addition we organized an AppTasting evening and an AppHealth Workshop.
Together with SpotSpot we developed the prototype of an innovative iPhone and iPad mounting system. The Bouncepad allows customers to browse a small selection of relevant apps, games and services. The Bouncepad is placed on a flexible base encouraging customers to encounter samples of apps whilst passing by, or to pull the display into a vertical viewing position when browsing the AppLounge catalogue or interacting with demonstrations of apps whilst seated.
The WiFi system in the space was set up in such a way to launch directly into the AppLounge catalogue when accessed from a mobile browser, giving the customer the option to keep a bookmark to the catalogue, featuring descriptions of the curated collections and providing links to the iTunes store to download selected apps, music and books.
Customers now keep access to the regularly updated AppLounge catalogue in the format of an easily browsable lifestyle magazine and can continue shopping away from the AppLounge.
September October 2010 at Meza, Wardour Street, Soho, London