CAMP Is Transforming the Way Children Experience Retail—and It’s Pretty Cool
By PAMELA BEILER | STAFF WRITER
CAMP, a self-described family experience company has just created a fun, interactive online shopping experience geared toward today’s youngest consumers—the three to twelve-year-old set.
Designed to provide a way for kids to safely learn about financial independence, CAMP has launched a first-of-its-kind, kid-safe e-commerce website called Present Shop, where children from all over can experience the fun and uniqueness of CAMP from the convenience of their own homes.
Nikki Kaufman, co-founder of CAMP, told RETHINK Retail that idea for Present Shop grew out of several digital experiences the company launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kaufman revealed that by March 16, 2020, one day after New York City went on lockdown, CAMP launched a public platform for virtual parties and celebrations.
During the holiday shopping season, CAMP launched its virtual White Elephant, an online gift exchange that created a sense of community and connection amongst families and friends
“Like many retailers, Camp prioritized supplementing our brick-and-mortar business with our digital and e-commerce businesses last year,” Kaufman told RETHINK Retail. “We wanted to create online experiences that mimicked and supplemented the magic of our physical stores.”
After wrapping up its White Elephant experience, CAMP quickly went to work developing Present Shop.
How does Present Shop work?
Parents or guardians set the budget and shopping parameters on the CAMP website and then hand over their device to their pint-sized shopper-in-training.
With the help of Scout, CAMP’S very own animated mascot, kids navigate their way through CAMP’s game-like Present Shop to choose the perfect gift for their parents, teachers, friends, or even themselves if they’ve done all their chores! All items from the CAMP Present Shop are packaged in a custom gift box and shipped right to the gift recipient, complete with a greeting card designed by the child.
“I love that my boys can shop on their own,” Kaufman said. “They are so proud of themselves when they pick out a perfect gift that a family member loves. Plus, Scout the Bear offers endless fun, one-liners and dance breaks that leave us full of smiles and laughter.”
CAMP’s Present Shop is also compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), so caregivers can be assured that kids are kept safe while learning the value of a dollar.
And now for the physical
Launched in 2018, CAMP is like a “please touch” museum, play date and shopping trip all rolled into one. Consumers who live in New York, Connecticut or Texas can visit one of the five CAMP retail stores in person, and we highly recommend it.
Each CAMP store is comprised of four experiences, or camps, all located behind a “secret door” in the main retail store space.
Visit Base Camp for a traditional camp experience of exploration and discovery of nature, arts & crafts, sports, theatre, storytime and more. Travel Camp invites shoppers to have a tea party in London, visit the Great Barrier Reef, go on a digital African safari, or walk across a hanging bridge in the forests of Costa Rica—all while shopping.
The Toy Lab Camp provides opportunities to test and shop for today’s most popular toys—brands like Little Tykes, Melissa & Doug, LEGO and much more. Finally, Cooking Camp encourages kids to touch and experiment with the whole food experience, from farm to table.
Let’s dive deeper
CAMP isn’t the first experiential retail store to find success in today’s limited-attention-span world. From low-key touchpoints like the food samples at Costco to high-tech, immersive VR experiences like driving on the moon in an Audi, retailers have been providing immersive shopping experiences for years, and they’re just getting started.
A quick breakdown of the immersive retail trend:
- The rise in e-commerce: Since nearly everything can be purchased online these days, retailers need to offer more than just products to get people into their stores. Brick-and-mortar shops that offer immersive shopping experiences in some capacity are the ones that are thriving, especially now as we are emerging from a global pandemic that shut down brick-and-mortar stores while being a boon to online retailers.
- Millenials: As U30X points out, today’s adult consumers, especially millennials, are prioritizing experiences over things. Miles Rote says, “Millennials are growing up in a society where the largest retail store doesn’t own any items (Amazon), the biggest transportation service doesn’t own any vehicles (Uber), and the most popular hotel chain doesn’t own any hotels (AirBnB). It’s no surprise Millennials have figured out owning things is a thing of the past.”
- Generation Z: If millennials are interested in experiences, Gen Zers demand community. “Zoomers” are used to being constantly engaged, so retailers need to reach them in immersive ways they previously haven’t had to when marketing to more no-nonsense consumers in prior generations. Bring on the nonsense!
Learning a new skill or having a cocktail to celebrate the launch of a new product is great, but who can say no to play? Today’s parents of kids aged 3-12 are, for the most part, millennials and Gen Zers who prefer spending their money on experiences over things. CAMP has effectively capitalized on that truth by creating a one-of-a-kind immersive retail experience that’s fun for kids of all ages.