An image of an industrial printer, part of IDL's retail merchandising services
Kevin Peters
Director of Operations

Experience Over Artifacts

How Retail Merchandising Fosters Shared Experience

The retail landscape has turned experience-based. The industry is facing a shift from producing a product to producing an experience, in no small part to the changing buying motivations of the Millennials and Generation Z. Retail merchandising services must adopt this shift in values if they hope to maintain relevance with the next generation.

In my role as the head of operations at IDL, my primary goal each day is to trace what we do in production to consumers connecting to a brand by inspiring our employees in manufacturing on the importance of their specific tasks to the overall vision of delivering an exceptional experience. Every printer, packer, and fork truck driver is vital in their contribution to this vision. We are not just shipping props, we are packing an experience into a box. What makes IDL unique from the manufacturing perspective is that we can work on a project today and tomorrow go see it in market. As consumers, we feel the same experience that our customers and their customers feel. We can emotionally connect to the experiences we produce, because that experience is far more important than the “stuff” we deliver.

Selling the experience

In this day and age, there is no alternative to the experience. While some businesses are naturally struggling with this cultural shift in buying--a recent Business Insider article[1] points out retailers like J.Crew who’ve maintained the old model and have seen their sales slump--others are thriving with the creative opportunities this marketing presents.

Younger generations stopped wanting to be sold to, instead wanting to join the conversation and help create their own story. This means J.Crew’s racks of discounted clothing hold far less appeal than the interactive store environment of Warby Parker, the ubiquitous eyewear brand.

From Business Insider:

"Their entire life, if it's not shareable, it didn't happen," Marcie Merriman, Generation Z expert and executive director of growth strategy and retail innovation at Ernst & Young, told Business of Fashion. "Experiences define them much more than the products that they buy."

When scooping up loads of sale items just for the sake of it goes out of fashion, what’s left is the desire to create and share something meaningful: an idea, a moment, an image.


  1. ^ “J. Crew just got a sign that its business is doomed”, Business Insider, retrieved 10 May 2016 from
A changing landscape

These shifting motivations hit right at IDL’s core strength of delivering exceptional human experiences at a retail level. Our retail merchandising service instills this value into our operations and deliver this amazing retail experience as thinkers, hustlers, and empowered problem solvers. Operations supports the creative engine of IDL through intelligent manufacturing principles. We enhance the experience of the project lifecycle by offering a fully integrated, nimble operations group. We use lean principles as they provide disciplines critical within a world class operation and ensure high quality is delivered on time, every time. This ensures that our customer’s customer has an amazing human experience at retail.

In every pocket of IDL, from design to account management to operations, the consumer experience is our purpose and our fuel. We all are consumers to one degree or another. We understand and appreciate that what our clients and their customers want most of all is to feel something rich and meaningful.

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