The Story Shop has been unveiled at Westfield London and it's a game changer in the sector. Historically, the charity sector has been denied access to premium retail environments and World Vision, the world's largest international children's charity, needed to change this in order to explore the higher donation market. By designing an immersive retail experience rather than a mid-mall kiosk from which fundraisers would be based, TYC did just that.
The modular space offers three interaction points; traditional service counters, seating and the 'story' area for the truly curious. Each experience is completely unique and lead by a consumer's choices and interests; they might experience all of the touch points within the shop or perhaps only one.
Although The Story Shop might look like shop, not all is what it seems. A traditional counter style bar is used by staff to sample produce made by World Vision supported communities. This is a completely new way for a charity to interact with consumers, a far more 'fun' retail experience that not only entertains but also shows the positive impact donations can make.
Technology is fundamental to the design and TYC worked closely with their partners Omnifi to create a digitally immersive experience. A key engagement piece within the store is the interactive mirror. From inside the mirror a child beckons to passers by and encourages them to reach out and touch hands on the screen, if a hand is held to the screen the shopping mall melts away and that child's world appears. The longer this connection is sustained the more of the child's story is revealed. Ultimately, the participant is invited to follow the story further and to explore the drawers and artefacts within the shop. Each drawer also contains a "call to action" which invites the participant to start his or her own story of child sponsorship.
Additionally, on the stylish shelving unit the products appear on first glance to be nondescript merchandise however, from inside the Story Shop the backs of the product labels display interesting facts and stories about the children.
"We want donors to walk away not only feeling good about what they have just given, but amazed and overwhelmed with the difference they can make and the journey they are only just beginning," commented Steve Wood, Head of Supporter Growth at World Vision UK.
The option to "tap to donate" via contactless card or Apple pay has also been built into the store to allow people to give directly to the charity's crisis support. All payments and donations are handled electronically.
The Story Shop will open in 4 premium locations before the end of the year, including the two now open at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford, a first for a UK charity.