Store of the Future
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Get to Know American Girl
Since its beginning in 1986, American Girl has dedicated its entire business to being a trusted partner in building girls of strong character and helping them reach their full potential. A wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel, American Girl is one of the US' top omni-channel marketers, with direct, retail, and publishing divisions to serve the American Girl brand and its customers.
American Girl is considered a pioneer of experiential retail thanks to making shopping, playing, styling hair, cooking, and eating commonplace in a trip to the American Girl Doll store.
As we look at girls today and millennial moms, they’re seeking brands that deliver positive, meaningful experiences, not just products, says Wade Opland, American Girl’s Senior Vice President of Global Retail. As he puts it, they’re asking themselves, “How does it tie back to me?”
'Create Your Own' Custom Doll Creation Commerce Experience
In-store, Online and Mobile Custom Doll Creation Commerce Experience
Valtech partnered with globally renowned Brand Experience Firm FRCH and worked together to launch American Girl’s Store of the Future, where we planned and executed the digital omnichannel guest experience for their 40,000 square foot flagship store in New York City.
American Girl aims to empower young girls by creating custom dolls and clothing that showcase and celebrate individuality. Building on this objective, we developed a playful doll creation commerce platform that inspires and delivers over 1.3 million doll options to capture girls’ imaginations. The in-store digital experience is essentially a “makers” area called “Create Your Own” that includes 12 digital touch screens integrated with real product options to feel and choose from while you design your dolls and clothing.
In a collective workshop atmosphere, girls can design the American Girl doll of their dreams from more than one million possible design combinations—an unprecedented level of choice. Girls can also create one-of-a-kind doll outfits and girl-sized products at the design studio in-store, which can be printed and ready to take home the same day.
Through user testing design prototypes, Valtech learned a blank slate didn’t encourage the creative process. They were inspired instead by seeing multiple, completed dolls and garments as starting points. We built the user interface as a carousel of dolls and garments, showing girls the wide selection at their fingertips.
Today’s girls have had screens in their hands their whole lives. We created an interface that their digital sophistication deserves. The animated menu system allows flexible exploration of all the choices while decluttering unnecessary information during the selection process. We also enabled the girls to add their personality to their custom design, including giving their doll a name, a pet, and adding their favourite places and things. The interface, personality, and the ability to begin digital/physical storytelling around the custom dolls all create a unique commerce experience.
Salon Digital Lookbook
Enhancing the Salon Experience
American Girl is known for its doll salons, kids and parents would wait in line to make a reservation and choose a style or service for their doll from a printed menu. With the new SOTF offerings, kids can join in on the fun with services made just for them. We anticipated this upgrade would cause even more demand and traffic for the salon space. Valtech evolved the physical menu of doll services to a fully accessible online “Lookbook,” highlighting doll services in a 360º interaction. This allowed kids and parents to digitally explore the salon before arriving to the store, reduced wait times and gave them more opportunity for fun and shopping.
Custom Themed Party Rooms
A Personal Touch to Parties
A cornerstone of the American Girl store experience is the party room – a reservable space for kids, dolls, and parents to celebrate with the aesthetic of the American Girl brand and menu from the cafe. With the American Girl Store of the Future, it was time to put the guest of honour at the center of the experience. Valtech created a system for guests to customize their party vibe, giving them a different party experience each time they or their friends decide to celebrate at American Girl. When making a reservation, the guest chooses the name(s), graphic themes and messages to be displayed at their event. The day of the party, an American Girl store associate can to set up the party room graphics based on the guest’s preferences from an online app wherever they are in the store. The messages and graphics are displayed through short throw projectors, adding a custom theme to the party room space.
Store Technology Solutions
Working inside the physical walls of the store allowed Valtech to plan the physical/digital mix in the space design, integrate with in-store systems, create remote management systems for kiosk hardware and software, and print custom clothing in real-time at the store.
We prototyped several touchscreen hardware displays in our technology lab for ease of use. The final selection was a 24″ all-in-one touchscreen PC display from Elo that provided the most responsive touch and processing power. ‘Create Your Own’ touch-screen kiosks have now been expanded to American Girl’s Chicago and Los Angeles flagship stores.
Valtech worked seamlessly with FRCH and American Girl to create a magical, modern store experience. We integrated digital experiences to elevate the brand mission overall, adding delight and convenience while highlighting the Girl at the center of customer experience.