Experiential Shift: Elevated Digital Versions of In-Person Experiences

Post by 
April Ko
August 5, 2020

or years we’ve been focusing on how to make in-person events more digital, with integrating social media, data collection and marketing automation, AR/VR experiences, and more. Now COVID-19 has challenged us to innovate towards creating digital versions of in-person experiences. How do we make sure that those key physical aspects of in-person experiences are conveyed digitally as well?

We’ve put together a few of our favorite examples that we had experienced personally the past few months, that no doubt will evolve how we meet, shop, and eat.

How We Meet

In-person events are key for many businesses, and although conferencing platforms like Zoom and Google Meet are great for virtual meetings, they don’t have all the intricacies needed for larger events.

We recently attended a virtual conference via Hopin, an online venue for virtual events that seamlessly integrates all those intricacies. The platform has a main reception area, a stage for keynote speakers, a separate section for breakout sessions/workshops, a functional networking/social area to connect you to individual attendees, and even an expo area for companies to present their products and services.

Hopin has successfully helped tens of thousands of people host a variety of virtual events, like business conferences, forums, trade shows, networking events, and even weddings! Notable examples include The Wall Street Journal’s Health Forum with over 900 individuals that included networking for 1:1 conversations and an expo to showcase the event’s partners, and a wedding with 400 guests that allowed them to virtually sit at different “tables”.

How We Shop

Our favorite example of an elevated digital shopping experience came from Spark’s 3D interactive store. You start at the storefront, similar to Google street view, but they include touches of nature with sounds of the water and birds paired with views of the coast and pohutukawa trees to help you really feel like you’re outside a New Zealand store.

When you enter the store you can virtually walk around the shop, just as you would in person, as they modeled everything from their physical store in Dunedin, from the shelves to the display counters. They also added to the product shopping experience, with some products including videos of staff talking about them, which was a nice personal touch that added to the in-store experience. Other features included a live chat so you can get that conversation that most people go into a store for, which they are looking to develop into a video chat.

How We Eat

If eating out was a big part of your lifestyle like it was for us, COVID-19 had drastically changed that experience. One of our favorite innovators in the food and bev space was the take-home service from Cotto, an Italian eatery in Auckland.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions they couldn’t take orders and payments the traditional way, so they opted for a new website that moved the entire ordering and payment system online, and used social media to help them spread the word. However they still wanted to include the warmth of the experience you get when dining in, so they prepared beautifully created pasta boxes with separated ingredients and instructions on how to put together your meal at home. The result was the restaurant-level flavors of heat-and-eat meals, met with the added experience of meal kit boxes that resulted in the comfort and aromas of dining in an italian restaurant.

An added aspect of Cotto’s take-home experience was that $3 from every box was donated to Everybody Eats, which helped deliver food to vulnerable families during lockdown.

Tell us what you think, and what your favorite experiences have been through LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram!


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