Different Theatrical Settings for Customer Experience and Participation

A theatre typically becomes enticing when the front stage, backstage, the script, roles, the setting, the light effects, and the characters all blend together to stage a play with a unique theme (Baron, Harris &amp. Harris, 2001). &nbsp.Retailers have been trying to create theatre environments that involve opportunities for audience participation and interaction. This metaphor has been used by retailers to gain competitive advantage and as a means of differentiation in the highly competitive market place. However, a theatre has a very elite and specific audience whereas the retailers are trying to create a variety of customer responses and reactions. To what extent this metaphor is justified depends on the benefits that both the retailer and the customers derive.

Pine and Gilmore point out that the use of ‘theatre’ was not metaphorical. They use theatre in the sense that “work is theatre” not “work as theatre” (Harris, Harris &amp. Baron, 2003). A retail theatre is considered to be a fun experience aimed at creating excitement. There are certain retail themed environments which employ retail theatre concepts to encourage the consumers to animate the theme. Baron, Harris, and Harris (2001) discuss four different theatrical settings and it has been found that many retailers are actually using such settings to enhance the customer experience and encourage customer participation.

In theatrical realism the audiences are voyeurs as they feel that they are looking into their own private world and they observe a very personal situation. Many retailers have been trying to implement this concept. Niketown creates a setting in which the physical exercise and sporting environment allow the customer to become engaged in the shopping activity (Sands, Oppewal &amp. Beverland, 2009). Computer retailers such as Apple have also embraced this concept of realistic settings and have benefited in terms of increased sales and positive word of mouth. Warner Brothers, the sports retailer has set up a video screen in the store, which has definitely made a difference to their store (Faye, 1995).&nbsp.