Herbal fun

Herbal fun

6 November 2023 Off By Facto Edizioni

/ Ricola embraces retailtainment with a new “experience shop” /

With the continuous growth of online shopping and big box stores, more and more brands are finding that they need to give a new dimension to their brick-and-stone stores, in order to keep them relevant and to foster a stronger relationship with their consumer base. We’ve written here before about retail experiences, or retailtainment, the trend in which brands add playful dimensions to the in-store experience with anything from augmented reality to behind-the-scenes peeks. We’ve seen this mostly with major brands, like the Barbie movie’s Dream House areas in cinemas, Nike’s in-store basketball courts, or Farfetch’s Store of the Future in London, which uses augmented reality, emotion-scanning software and smart mirrors that let customers check their browsing history, for a seamless digital and physical shopping experience. But smaller brands can jump on the bandwagon, too. Case in point: the Swiss herbal candy manufacturer, Ricola, opened an experience store in its home town of Laufen this summer. Founded in 1930, Ricola is still a family-owned company specializing in herbal candies and herbal tea specialties. Today they have a range of over 50 products and export in 45 countries, but they are still faithful to their original philosophy: they grow their own herbs in selected locations in the Alps, follow environmentally friendly cultivation guidelines, and are as committed to sustainable management as they are to Swiss quality.

The new “experience shop” also follows the same line. It is hosted in an historical building, a three-storey house dating from the 14th or the 15th century, not far from the original confectionery opened by founder Emil Richterich, and it is dedicated to Ricola’s specialties, but with an interactive twist. 

On the ground floor, the flagship store offers all of Ricola’s diverse production, including candies that are not normally available in Switzerland, and a pick & mix station where guests can prepare their own baggies of candies in different flavors. On the upper floor, all decked in wood panels like a Swiss chalet, an exhibit tells the story of the company and then delves into the 13 herbs that go into the Ricola original drops, and the process that transforms those herbs into candy. Guests can touch the tools of the trade, learn everything about herb cultivation, and even create their own Ricola variety on a magical projection wall. Candy production performances are regularly organized on-site, allowing visitors to look over the shoulders of the candy professionals. Games and light effects complete the experience designed by Dutch company NorthernLight, together with Heijmerink Wagemakers (production) and Yipp (multimedia design).

The new experience shop is Ricola’s first take on retailtainment, and a good example of what even smaller brands can do in this sense, but it is only one piece in a wider effort of Ricola to get in touch with its customers in person. For a full family day out, guests can also visit two more sites in the area: one is the herb center designed by architects Herzog & De Meuron, the largest earth building in Europe, where visitors can see first-hand the industrial processing of herbs, from drying and cutting to blending and storing; the other is the Ricola herb garden in Nenzlingen, located on… 

Continue reading Games & Parks Industry October 2023 page 42

Photos: © davidandkathrin.com

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