A couple days ago, while strolling through central London, I was struck by a contradiction.

It was early evening, with summer’s sun still lingering, and SoHo was teeming with activity. Revelers at newly reopened restaurants maximized makeshift picnic benches. Live music and theater goers were spilling out into the streets. Young people mingled on sidewalks to the point that it was difficult to walk in a straight line.

As I turned onto Tottenham Court Rd, however, the sounds of laughter and liveliness died away.

I passed home store after home store — Dwell, West Elm, Heal’s, IKEA, and Habitat —…


Glossier’s x Rhea’s Cafe takeover — Source: Pinterest

Experiential retail refers to the shift in the industry away from purely transactional selling and toward the creation of memorable, meaningful moments. Experiential e-tail is just that, but online.

Classically, retail ‘experiences’ have been mainly the domain of brick and mortar stores. In response to online competition, retailers needed better ways to draw people in, generate enthusiasm, build trust, and deepen relationships. If you can buy anything online, why get off the couch to go into a store? Stores needed to offer more.

And so immersive stores boomed over the last five years, ranging from Samsung’s inventory-less 837 store to…


Local establishments have history, quirky details, and imperfections — the things that make up a personality. Photo source: Getty images

To be a ‘local’ means that you belong.

Supporting a local business inherently feels good. It’s like rooting for the underdog, like cheering on a close friend, like settling into your regular spot at the pub that’s become an extension of home.

In the age of Amazon’s convenience and anonymity, patronizing local shops offers a sense of community and connection. Local establishments have history, quirky details, imperfections — the things that make up a personality.

And having a distinct personality…


In this article, I chat with Jessie Metz, a retail strategist who has worked with luxury fashion brands like Chanel and Coach to sustainability-focused, indie brands such as Lois Hazel. After a decade-long career that took her from Hong Kong to the UK, she's recently returned home to Australia to start her own retail consultancy.

CH: So Jessie, we’ve been talking about archive sales all week, but previously, I’d never heard of the concept. For the uninitiated, can you give us a little background?

JM: An archive sale is when a brand brings back old product from past seasons and…


Taking names and cashing in through RSVP Retail

This article was first featured in The Cream of the Shop newsletter.

Would you make an appointment just to pop into your local bike store or book shop?

What if it meant you could skip the line, have personalized attention, and ensure your exact items were in stock?

After seeing the ‘appointment only!’ sign in my own local bike shop, I’ve been reflecting on how expected norms can vary so much. We don’t bat an eye at making restaurant reservations or scheduling workout classes. …


2018 was the year I fell in love with video games — a somewhat surprising fact given that I’m far from the stereotypical gamer. And actually, that’s the point.

I’m not a teenager. I’m not a dude. I don’t drink Mountain Dew or eat Doritos very often. I don’t even have a gaming console, just my iPhone and laptop. So why then, have I become a major champion of games?

Because I love stories.

And while this is probably obvious to veteran gamers, I hadn’t realized the extent to which video games are one of the best mediums for creating…


The 3 W’s: Work, Weather, and the Weekend.

More often than not, we self-sensor our day-to-day conversation with these seemingly innocuous but actually mind-numbing topics. And let’s be honest; we’re usually just complaining about how they’re too busy, inclement, or short.

I like to think of myself as someone who is genuinely engaged and curious. I believe everyone has a story, and I’m immensely grateful to find myself surrounded by smart, insightful, fascinating people on a daily basis. And over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend my time, energy and money investing in experiences — traveling, reading, exploring…

Christina Herbach

Retail strategist, innovation consultant, and experience designer. Let’s talk shop! Creamoftheshop.com

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