Can Disney build the happiest stores on Earth? That is the question the Walt Disney Company is looking to answer as it sets on its first major redesign of its retail spaces in a little under a decade, according to recent Reuters reports.
The newly designed Disney experience will include interactive activities for families and live streams of theme park actions like parades. The stores will also feature a chance for customers, presumably children, to fight Darth Vader on a giant video screen, or interact with other characters from the Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel franchises.
The goal, it seems, is to lure shoppers away from the digital experiences that are depressing Disney's retail foot traffic, Reuters noted.
Along with the store redeisgn, Disney is also pushing a new digital shopping option this week. While the company is committed to luring people back to real world, brick-and-mortar shopping, it also wants to make sure its digital offering is up to snuff.
“We knew we needed to elevate and improve the experiences that we have both in stores and online as retail is changing," noted Paul Gainer, executive vice president of Disney retail.
Disney's network of retail stores has both expanded and contracted over the years, Reuters said, and at one point the company actually washed its hands of the whole enterprise and sold them off. It bought the stores back in 2008 and now operates 340 retail store locations around the world.
The revamped stores will also dial back their product supply, instead using the experiential hubs as a way to guide customers to the much wider online selection at shopDisney.com.
Disney’s retail stores are part of its consumer products and interactive division, which generated $1.4 billion in operating income in the nine months through July 1. The figure comprises approximately 11 percent of Disney's total revenue, according to Reuters. Disney does not break out individual revenue figures for stores.