In an era of the rapid exchange of information and fast changing needs, most industries are rapidly evolving to provide functional services that mirror the hectic needs of consumers today. E-commerce is getting hotter than ever. Statistics show that by 2016 it will grow 62% (Source: Forrester, February 2012). The e-commerce threat is getting brands and retail spaces to wonder how they can attract the busy digital consumer. For this reason, the trend of the “Transactional Storytelling” is becoming prominent amongst many retail locations.

Transactional Storytelling is the construction of a story through the trade and repurposing of images and image sequences. The intention behind it is using the retail experience to elicit a consumer dialog that boosts empathy and provides meaningful moments. This involves leveraging theatrical elements like a script, sounds, aromas and objects to recreate a story and deliver a message to the people that visit the space. The final product: memorable and meaningful impressions.


The fashion industry is one of the most daring industries utilizing this trend, as seen through stores like “Story”. The New York store uses a unique proposal that reflects the point of view of a magazine, presents like an art gallery and sells things like a store. Every four to eight weeks, STORY will undergo a transformation to adhere to a new theme, like a magazine releasing a new issue.

With each new “issue” of STORY, there will be exciting new collaborations with popular shopping brands. The concept is similar to reading the monthly issue of your favorite magazine in an interactive way. The store also provides a calendar of events that includes in-store book signings, talk events, classes hosted by Skillshare, film screenings and concerts.


Timberland has also developed a unique interactive experience within the retail market that intrigues and engages the customer throughout the store by inspiring them to discover their great outdoors with Timberland gear, technologies and brand storytelling.



While this is just the beginning of transactional storytelling, we can look forward to seeing more large scale manufacturers tapping into this concept. For example, H&M has recently announced its launch of a new luxury label in 2013 called “& other stories”, tying their own version storytelling into the mix of their retail market.

As digital commerce reaches its peak, brands will need to widen their proposal to be less about consumption and more about intriguing consumers by providing content that is full of meaning. For those brands who want to still remain competent into their retail space, they should try bringing meaning into the consumer’s shopping experience. As Plato used to say: “Those who tell stories rule the world”.