Selfie Portraits in Retail Marketing - Medallion Retail
Strategy, Creativity, Permanent, Temporary, Corrugated Display, Social Media Integration, Retail Marketing, In-Store Marketing

Selfie Portraits in Retail Marketing

POSTED ON: 08/20/15 Retail Display

Enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think of my selfie?

An old joke, but more relevant today than when Bette Midler said it in 1988. Now, people are happily, zealously, even aggressively photographing themselves and then forcing people to look. It’s a new era of selfie entitlement.

No longer satisfied with grabbing a quick pic, we have elevated the idea of the selfie to an art form celebrating self-portraiture. Our own Scavullos, we consider angles, lighting, setting, wardrobe… and that weird duck face. We’ve become the documentarians of our own lives, curating our personal world and confirming our existence. (If there isn’t a selfie, did it even happen?)

So go ahead, grab that shot. To thine own selfie be true. Hundreds of Instagram and Pinterest followers need to know what’s going on; are you eating, vacationing, clubbing, dog sitting, beachcombing, baking, commuting?


Retail marketers know that the idea of shopping has evolved, and that experience is as important as product quality. It’s no longer just a store. It’s a destination, a gathering place, a learning center.

And a shared adventure. I’ve written about the social side of shopping, going so far as to name the in-store, in-aisle photos that customers take “shelfies.” (Let’s continue to work that into the retail vernacular, OK?) Shoppers are taking lots and lots of shelfies. Smile, retail marketers.

This provides a major opportunity to create an even more meaningful, personalized (and media-genic) experience for shoppers. It starts with reimagining the very concept of in-store display and product merchandising. (A thought that is indicative of how we should be reinventing all the basics of retail marketing.)

Think of a display as not just a spot to highlight a sale or showcase a designer, but as the backdrop for a shelfie. It’s not a product rack; it’s a set for a photo shoot. Those mannequins aren’t just standing there in Stella McCartney. They’re waiting eagerly on the red carpet to serve as the glamorous background entourage.

Forward-thinking retailers are already moving in the display-as-shelfie-backdrop direction. One of my favorite shops, STORY, is currently featuring a professionally lit Donald Robertson-designed shelfie station as part of a stunning interactive shopping experience.

What other display elements can a retail marketer put in place to encourage shelfies (and, in turn, increase online brand buzz)?

  • Bank of video screens. Shelfie subject 100 times over.
  • One giant video screen. Shelfie subject larger than life.
  • Over-sized chalk drawings. Like Starbucks, but in background size.
  • Shelfie stick availability. And maybe a map that directs shopper to all the best shelfie spots in the store.
  • Green screen. Maybe an animated product montage?
  • Merchandise as props. Shoppers touch and use the product.
  • Speech balloons. What are shoppers thinking?
  • Celebrities. A grip-and-grin is always popular.
  • Celebrity mannequins. If you can’t get the real thing.
  • Photo stylist on site. Guaranteed perfect shelfie.
  • Infinity mirrors. Great (and trippy) visual.
  • Unconventional, larger-than-life product display. Merchandise as art.
  • Magazine covers. Make her a style star.
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