Shoppable Walls: The Retail Essential All Stores Should Have

This photo is an ad from Tesco, Gatwick

This photo is an ad from Tesco, Gatwick

Over the past five years, shoppable walls have become a viable means to buy and sell products with minimal physical interaction. Shoppable walls use virtual images with 2D barcodes that uses a companion app to scan and make purchases within an interactive screen.

The demand for shoppable walls began with the populated subway stations in Korea. In order to profit from the high traffic and to add convenience, shoppable walls are still frequently found in commuter stations. The shoppable walls originally were made up of illustrations of vegetables and meat, offering commuters the convenience of buying and ordering groceries during their commute instead of making a separate trip to the supermarket.

While on a recent trip to Toronto, I was greeted with many shoppable walls at the Eaton Center Mall, in many of the stores. It was not surprising that shoppable walls would be integrated to so many stores, but it was surprising just how far ahead both retailers and consumers were to use the technology.

The Eaton Center, located in the core of downtown Toronto, often sees high volume traffic and waiting in long lines to be common practice. To alleviate the pressure on employees and give the customer a more efficient way to get help and source available customizable options, using a shoppable wall makes shopping easier.

In an overcrowded sporting goods store, custom professional league jerseys orders could be made through a shoppable wall. All I had to do was pick a product, insert the text, approve and pay through an app and within minutes, my custom purchase was available to me.

This concept is now widely practiced and being utilized by many companies globally. Kate Spade, an early adaptor, uses shoppable walls for temporary construction barricades while stores are being built. A release by Kate Spade outlined what customers can expect to experience, “Customers can take short quizzes centered on personality traits and style preferences. Once complete, the customer receives a personalized statement that celebrates her as an individual, such as “she adores pretty things and witty words,” directly on her mobile device, allowing her to share it across her own social media platforms. In addition, Kate Spade New York curates a customized collection, unique to the shopper’s tastes, and delivers it to her mobile device along with complimentary, one-day shipping”.

Shoppable walls have also evolved into being a strategic area of retail planning. Over populated stores and restaurants use shoppable walls to make accessibility easier and eliminate being short staffed or offering subpar customer quality.

Rebecca Minkoff’s flagship store offers shoppable walls, “Customers can use these interactive displays to browse and order different styles or sizes. Plus you can use it to get a staff member to bring you a different size” said Minkoff on how these technological advances can make the consumer experience better.

The goal for shoppable walls is to allow 24/7 business opportunities, improve quality and innovative digital engagement.

Have you used a shoppable wall before? I’d love to hear about your experience.

Happy Shopping!


Gustie in the Top 25

Yep, our design blog is one of the top 25 retail design blogs on the planet. We are passionate about design, retail, and technology, and I’m so grateful that our readers enjoy our content. Click on the post below to read more. Cheers to discovering disruptive retail! Karen

Top 25 Retail Design Blogs & Websites for Retail Designers & Architects

Create Disruptive Retail, Gustie Creative LLC

Gratitude for Getting Here

NBC News Story on Gustie Creative

When I was accepted into the exclusive Technology Business Incubator in The Research Park at FAU in 2013, I had a business plan for pop up stores and a passion to dive into research and learn all about them. What I discovered through all of my research, along with completing disruptive retail projects for our clients, now four years later, is what has become the platform for Create Disruptive Retail. Click on the NBC news story above to learn more.

Lots of gratitude for everyone who has given me advice on how to get here. The South Florida startup and tech communities have been amazing, especially Dan Gudema of StartupPOP. Fabien Bourdon, Founder of Vicatio and Elena Buigas, co-hosts of BocaVR Meetups, have been an exceptional resource of knowledge on all things AR, MR, and VR.

And, The Research Park at FAU and Technology Business Incubator have been invaluable. The Research Park at FAU is the only state university affiliated research park in South Florida. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to come into my office everyday, do what I am passionate about, and help people grow healthy businesses.

Take time to visit and signup for our free monthly newsletter to stay up-to-date on virtual to physical retailing. Retail touches all of us. Let’s keep offline alive.


Introducing Create Disruptive Retail

Introducing Create Disruptive Retail, Gustie Creative LLC

Couple Shopping Outdoors

If you shop with your smartphone, maybe use it to compare products and prices in-store, or do some research from home on the best price and where a product you want is in stock, before stepping into the store, then you are not alone.

The smartphone has become our most valued shopping tool. Who knew that in a single decade, a hand-held phone would become a significant actor in changing our traditional shopping habits and transforming our shopping patterns. The smartphone, with its internet connectivity, was simply a turning point. Next, along came companies like Amazon, with their ever-evolving e-commerce extravaganza, offering each of us our very own, self-directed shopping engagement with global reach, 24/7.

What Amazon, a technology company, has done to change our shopping expectations, habits, and patterns is astounding. And, as shoppers, we love it, because we get what we want, when we want it.

While this collision of technology and online retail has been developing, since the 1990’s and even earlier, new trends in retailing were also emerging. Forward thinking retailers from small, independent business owners to large companies were choosing to sell their products and services in more engaging ways. Some of these new trends in retailing were food trucks, pop up stores, and interactive kiosks. These are still popular today, and no longer trends. They are established types of Disruptive Retail that are mainstays in commerce.

Disruptive Retail bridges our traditional and online shopping experiences in ways that are entertaining, educational, engaging, and interactive. It works to challenge the belief that retail can only operate with a long-term lease in a brick-and-mortar setting. Instead, Disruptive Retail embraces an ever-growing number of creative retail solutions that sync nicely with today’s consumer. These consumers move quite easily now between traditional and online retail and are looking for a more personalized and experiential component to the everyday physical shopping experience.

Until you started reading this post, most likely you had not heard the term Disruptive Retail. But there is a good chance that you have already experienced it. From the new menu-ordering kiosks at BurgerFi, to the temporary Halloween pop up stores in your area each fall, to the Family Night food truck rallies, to the interactive kiosk that you use to pick up your boarding pass at the airport, most likely you have already experienced the ease of use, quick response, and entertaining qualities that a disruptive retail solution offers.

For Indies (independent retailers), SOHO’s (small office and home office based companies) and SMB’s (small to medium size businesses), Disruptive Retail is a great way to adapt to the ever-changing retail landscape. At Gustie Creative, we work closely with many such clients and guide them to grow their business in a healthy way by defining specific marketing strategies and designing unique experiences, destinations, structures, vehicles, and altered realities. When clients learn what we do, I usually hear that they’ve been looking for the choices that Disruptive Retail offers, but did not know where to find it. At Gustie Creative, we’ve been designing, researching and executing Disruptive Retail for quite a while. We are evangelists for Disruptive Retail and know how it works.

To help people learn what we have discovered, we’ve launched Create Disruptive Retail as a virtual to physical retailing platform devoted to designing unique, offline retail solutions for companies, agencies, and nonprofit organizations. We are passionate about building a community for creators, makers, innovators, problem-solvers, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs…everyone interested in forging the new frontier of virtual to physical retailing.

So pull out your smartphone and visit Create Disruptive Retail. Feel free to share your comments, suggestions, and especially your recollection of a shopping experience that inspired or delighted you. Retail connects us in so many ways. Let’s keep offline alive.


Dead Malls are Real

The Jones Store Department Store

The Jones Store Department Store

A draft on the decline of enclosed shopping malls across the US has been on my desk for a while, and whenever I glance at it, it brings back so many memories of the days when my local mall, Metcalf South Shopping Center in Overland Park, KS was thriving.

My first job was in retail, as a sales associate, and I enjoyed it immensely, even joining the store’s junior fashion board and helping to select seasonal trends for teens.

Today, The Jones Store Co., where I worked, is cataloged in The Department Store Museum and Metcalf South Shopping Center is listed on

Yes, enclosed shopping malls are dying across the US.

Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail, predicts half of the current enclosed shopping malls across the US will close in the next 10 years. He is interviewed in this video from CBS News.

The Retail Apocalypse Has Officially Descended on America confirms that mid-tier retailers are suffering.

At Gustie, our research shows that the hourglass affect on retail continues to grow worse. Luxury retailers are thriving, mostly, and dollar stores are proliferating at a growing rate. Retailers in the middle are struggling, suffering, closing, and sadly, failing.

Macro influences in our society, technological advancement and adaption, and economic realities, like the lingering effects from the recession, an emerging sharing economy and stagnant wages contributing to the middle-class squeeze, all play a role.

I’ll go into greater detail in our book, The Definitive Guide to Disruptive Retail, coming out in November 2017.

Meanwhile, in The Conversation Begins, a blog from last year, I asked how your personal retail experience is changing.

Have the stores around where you live changed over the last few years? Are you pleased with your local brick and mortar shopping choices? Do you notice more dollar stores near your home? Are store changes in your local area causing you to shop more online?

And one more question. Are you getting bored with shopping on screens and looking to go offline, to a physical retailer, to gain an experience, education, interactive opportunity, or be part of a community?

Send me your comments and let’s share real information as we continue this conversation – Karen

Gusty at SOBEWFF 2017

Gusty, our ARpet, went to the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami last weekend and she had an awesome time! These are fun photos and videos as our creative team continues to learn how to blend virtual and physical environments and explores 3D mapping. Here are some of Gusty’s adventures…

Brunch at the Matador Room

Gusty at SOBEWFF 2017 Gustie Creative LLC all rights reserved

Gusty at SOBEWFF 2017 Gustie Creative LLC all rights reserved

Meowing at Brunch at the Matador Room

Gusty meowing at SOBEWFF 2017 Gustie Creative LLC all rights reserved

Gusty meowing at SOBEWFF 2017 Gustie Creative LLC all rights reserved

Eating AR fishies at the Edition Hotel

Meeting dogs along the Miami Beach Boardwalk

Who knows where Gusty will go next! You can follow her adventures with #followgusty.


Gusty, our AR Cat

Pleased to start 2017 with a blog that showcases our new ARpet, Gusty the cat. In this very short video, she is exploring a desk in our office and finding a “real” mouse.

Soon, Gusty will be out and about, explaining Disruptive Retail and sharing awesome examples in South Florida. I’ll share all of her adventures here.

Cheers and #followgusty!


Never Stop Creating (artwork by Shon Ejai on Pixabay)

Journeying Through AR and VR at Gustie Creative

The past three years, I’ve been on a super interesting personal journey to experience and discover AR, augmented reality and VR, virtual reality, as manifested in all of the varied devices and wearable headsets, to find useful design tools that resonate with me and our design mission at Gustie Creative.

In 2014, I traveled to the Google Glass Basecamp in NYC to learn how to use my #cotton colored Glass. I still like Glass and its functionality and we have two sets of these Smartglasses in our office to use as design tools. Google Glass Blogs

At Glass Basecamp in NYC  for Google Glass fitting - June 2014

At Glass Basecamp in NYC for Google Glass fitting – June 2014

In 2015, I demoed Samsung Gear VR and think it is really nice for gaming and videos. At Gustie, we work with Google Cardboard for VR.

At Boca VR Meetup trying Samsung Gear NLK

At Boca VR Meetup trying Samsung Gear NLK

In 2016, Hololens was a mind blowing experience for me to demo and I think it is well suited for architecture and BIM applications. Trying Out HoloLens

Karen using HoloLens for virtual architectural walk through

Karen using HoloLens for virtual architectural walk through

Also in 2015, I used my Google Project Tango development kit to design a commercial project, trying out a 3D modeling application and a virtual dimensioning application. Designing with AR

Live Media Trading Room by Gustie Creative LLC 2015

Live Media Trading Room by Gustie Creative LLC 2015

As the end of 2016 draws near, I’m so very excited to explore how far Tango has come. In this video I created as a short demonstration, you can watch Gusty, a virtual kitty I imported from Tango, getting comfy and exploring the sofa in our office…

Really like what I see here and am already exploring the creative possibilities that exist with Tango.

At Gustie, we are passionate about commercial design, retail design strategy, and creating disruptive retail…We Never Stop Creating 🙂

Feel free to read our previous blog posts, and, as always, I invite your comments or questions below.

All the best in 2017,

(Never Stop Creating artwork by Shon Ejai on Pixabay)

Shop Small This Saturday

Shop Small Bags for Local Retailers

Shop Small Bags for Local Retailers

Small brick and mortar businesses are important to our local communities, local economies and the welfare of local residents. When customers spend where they live, communities grow stronger and main streets remain active. The Shop Small Saturday movement founded by American Express in 2010 has grown into a delightful celebration of small businesses and the owners who operate them. Shop Small Saturday takes place on November 26, 2016.

This year, in particular, the Shop Small movement has a very special energy and vibrancy. Retailers are actively participating and most everyone has heard of this very special day when we celebrate small businesses. Gustie has participated in Shop Small Saturday for the past three years. This year, we are a Neighborhood Champion and very pleased to support some of our favorite small businesses, including:

Oh My Bod®
Oh My Bod® is a one of a kind boutique with locations in East Delray Beach on Atlantic Avenue and West Delray Beach in Delray Marketplace. Oh My Bod’s in-store brand has everything from resort wear to athleisure, making it an optimal destination for the best American made clothing. From one of a kind pieces to accessories, all merchandise is couture, hand-made in America.
East Delray – 1128 E. Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33483 (561) 272-0029
West Delray – 14851 Lyons Road, Suite 120, Delray Beach, FL 33446 (561) 808-7322

Way Beyond Bagels
Way Beyond Bagels is known for their delicious bagels but they offer way beyond that. They have an extensive selection of prepared goods, salads and spreads. They also offer an extensive catering menu. Way Beyond Bagels recently opened a second location for their loyal customers to enjoy. Experience their galaxy today, because they are way beyond…
The Shoppes at Addison Place, 16850 Jog Road, Delray Beach, FL 33446 (561) 638-1320
Reserve Shopping Center, 9858 Clint Moore Road, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (561) 883-3535

Clint Moore Animal Hospital
Clint Moore Animal Hospital and Pet Resort is an animal sanctuary. The on-site veterinarians and technicians use state of the art equipment to take care of their patients. They also offer obedience classes, pet adoptions, pet daycare and boarding. In addition, they carry special lines of pet products, ranging from collars and leashes, to toys and treats, and specialty foods.
9531 Clint Moore Road, Boca Raton, FL 33496 (561) 487-0226

Don Law Golf Academy
The mission of Don Law Golf Academy is to create a lifelong love of golf using modern professional golf instruction taught in a fun, safe and interactive environment. Established in 1999, Don Law has grown to be one of the largest teaching centers in Florida. They offer a well stocked pro shop that carries the best in golf equipment, clothing, and supplies.
Osprey Point Golf Course, 12551 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33498 (561) 482-2868
Martin County Golf Course, 2000 SE St Lucie Blvd, Stuart, FL 34996 (772) 320-GOLF

5-Spice Asian Street Market® Restaurant
For centuries, food stands in bustling Asian street markets have provided the best tasting comfort foods quickly and affordably while treating each customer like family. This has been the inspiration behind the creation of 5-Spice Asian Street Market® — to bring to America hidden culinary treasures from different regions of Asia with uncompromising authenticity and quality, in a warm and inviting atmosphere capturing the essence of the street markets of the Far East.
Shoppes of Blue Lake, 1200 Yamato Road #A1, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (561) 989-1688

Postal Sweets
Postal Sweets is a funky, family owned, self-described “everything store.” Postal Sweets is a one stop shop for gift giving. The store carries everything from painted wine glasses and jewelry boxes to the most up-to-date plush toys and candy with a conveniently located United States Postal Service in the back.
275 NE Spanish River Boulevard, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (561) 392-0180

Join this special movement and show your love for these and all of your favorite small businesses this Saturday, November 26th.

#ShopSmall 🙂