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Redesigning Retail

November 30, 2023

February 13, 2021

Written By:

Bishop Zareh

"Its not wether you get knocked down"


If you could be anyone you wanted to be, who would you be? How exciting is it to think that you could start a new chapter in your life in a whole new world? Without the limitations of the physical world and human constructs that have been created around you?

Well that’s where the Metaverse comes in. There are whole new worlds being created out there that will remove the physical limitations of life and allow you to chase your dreams and be who you want to be.

Sounds pretty exciting right? Let’s dig in a little more to understand what this might look like.


Simply put, the Metaverse is the convergence of all the digital things you do online into one virtual experience.

In a sense, it already exists. We sit on Zoom calls, research on the web, talk on social media, buy things on Amazon, watch streaming events and online video, and play games. The Metaverse is already here.

But think of tying all of it together and removing some of the limitations that still exist in your physical life when you access the web.

But how is this all of the sudden now possible?

When I told my parents I was going to major in digital art, my decision was met with echoing questions:

“What even is that?”

“How are you going to make a living?”

Now 10 years out of college and as the Senior Digital Art Director at Karsh Hagan, I understand that these questions aren’t far from what we hear from prospects and clients on a daily basis.

“What is digital art, and how can it help our brand’s advertising strategy?” Let’s start from the top.

What is Digital Art?

Digital art is an artistic work or practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.

Digital art is all around us. It’s everywhere we look. From movies like Pixar’s ‘Toy Story’ to apps like Instagram, digital art has introduced modes of storytelling that were once impossible, making it a valuable and limitless tool for advertising.

Why is Digital Art a Successful Marketing Tactic?

Now, more than ever, we’re a visually driven society. It’s no coincidence that we’re naturally drawn to images, when you consider that 90% of the information processed by the brain is visual, and that our brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. The brain’s preference for images even impacts how memory is formed as 80% of people remember what they see, compared to 20 percent of what they read. That makes digital art an especially important tactic for brands looking to create a campaign that’s as efficient as it is impactful.

What is the Difference Between Digital Art and Traditional Art?

When it comes to advertising, the difference between digital art and traditional art is simple. There are no gatekeepers. Anyone with a phone in their pocket and a little bit of creativity can create and share their art. Unlike the billboards or magazines of the past, online apps allow artists to instantly publish their work for free for all to see.

The success of digital art within that context comes down to ROI. Delivering the highest return on your investment requires the ability to measure, analyze, and adapt your strategy – it requires the ability to learn. Digital art is iterative and efficient – allowing us to easily track engagement rates that let us fail fast, tweak, and refine. We can then use that information to employ data-proven digital art across all marketing channels, ultimately delivering a product that best serves your brand and your audience.

How You Can Use Digital Art In Brand Advertising

At Karsh Hagan, we have used our understanding to create beautiful and effective marketing campaigns for our clients. For VISIT DENVER we created an immersive world that targeted convention planners all over the country. We created three unique videos, using 2.5D animation. These videos were seen by over 462,610 people and counting! Check out the work here:

At Karsh Hagan, we have used our understanding to create beautiful and effective marketing campaigns for our clients. For VISIT DENVER we created an immersive world that targeted convention planners all over the country. We created three unique videos, using 2.5D animation. These videos were seen by over 462,610 people and counting! Check out the work here:


Even as retail establishments begin to open back up, one of the first things on everyone’s mind is social distancing. Wearing a mask or not, everyone is painfully aware of precautions, both mandated and personal. Stores can open their doors, but the retail experience will never be the same.

Karsh Hagan has been keenly tracking the coming retail revolution long before the current COVID-19 crisis. The appearance of Pop-up Stores and Puzzle Rooms heralded a shift towards Experiential Marketing in the retail space. But since the pandemic began, we’ve seen retail evolve beyond Experiential into Education Marketing.

Touch-less door entry, for example, is one aspect of retail that was a “nice to have” and now is a customer expectation. When a customer enters a store and they see the word “anti-microbial” printed on the floor mats, it makes them feel safer, more comfortable, and makes them think the store cares about their well-being. Those stores will see more lift.


No retail space was designed with social distancing in mind. Some have enough room to accommodate the mandates by adding arrows to the floor, indicating to customers the singular direction they should walk. Grocery stores, for instance, have done this and sometimes customers comply. Many customers don’t comply because the arrows change the shopping metaphor of the store -- yet, the rest of the store isn’t set up to accommodate this new paradigm.

Most retail spaces, from Walgreens to Verizon, are set up to be a warehouse of displays - each display showing the 20 or so product varieties in a particular niche. The idea of shopping is that a customer navigates through the displays to find the product niche they want, selects the specific product that is best for them, takes one and checks out.

When grocery stores added arrows to the floor, all that changed. Now the customer must take a tour of the store, passing each display in turn. Customers find this frustrating because they can’t go directly to the thing they want. The only way to alleviate that frustration is to embrace shopping as a tour. No longer is the store considered to be a self-service warehouse. Instead stores should be designed as a guided tour through the products and the brand.


The new retail experience changes the relationship between the employee and the customer. Instead of being a salesperson, cashier or customer service agent, floor room employees become curators of the products and ambassadors of the brand voice.

When a store embraces the experience of shopping as a tour, an opportunity is created. As customers tour the store, employees can act as a guide, leading them along the path, educating them as they go, and helping them to identify the perfect product for their needs.

Also, stores will have less products in them. There isn’t enough space, and customers don’t want or need to see the inventory. Increasingly, stores will have only one display of each model. Instead of customers grabbing what they want, they’ll indicate what they want to an employee or mobile app, and the product magically shows up at checkout.

Since stores will contain less products, more emphasis will be placed on the customer-employee relationship. Employees will be expected to participate in the customer journey, and deliver expert knowledge of both the products and the brand.


With the shift towards Experiential Marketing, retail establishments had already started to become more like a museum than a warehouse. But often, the experiences designed for retail were a distraction from the shopping -- something fun to put the customer in a good mood.

With the New Retail, every part of the store becomes an experience, and those experiences combine to become the shopping experience. Every display must now serve three functions:  shopping (display products for sale), experiential (engage the shopper), and education (communicate the company’s brand and purpose).

Now, every aspect of a store -- the way the front door opens, the path the customer takes, the product displays, the planned experiences, the digital touchpoints, the attitude of the employees, even the checkout process -- must be integrated and aligned with the company’s purpose. Every step should tell the brand story.

These changes are essential for quarantined times, but also, customer expectations are shifting to the point where stores that don’t keep up will eventually close their doors forever.

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