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Sharing the Experience: An Inside Look at the New Restoration Hardware

Megan Rasmussen
Megan Rasmussen

Director of Project Operations, Word-Slinger, Avid Taco-Lover

Kate Neal

Kate Neal

Digital & Visual Design Manager, Resident Fashionista, Closet rebel

Hey Nashville! We’ve all been seeing quite a few pictures of oversized chandeliers, gold mirrors, indoor trees that look too perfect to be real, and swoon-worthy vignettes that kind of make you want to cry and roll your eyes at the same time. In our opinion, June 15th was a day that went down in Nashville history. It was the day that Restoration Hardware released a game changer for the world of retail marketing.

restoration hardware
restoration hardware
restoration hardware chandelier
Now don’t get us wrong, we’ve known this launch was going to take place for quite some time.  We’ve been waiting patiently for this company to grace Nashville with a presence similar to it’s historic 1860’s Design Gallery in Boston. And with companies like Samsung and Nordstrom investing in the interaction over the transaction, the whole experience of shopping has already been revolutionized, but we’d like to be so bold as to say RH is doing it best.

When we first walked into the store, after we picked our jaws up off the ground, we asked ourselves why this company goes to such great lengths to sell their product. But it’s not even a specific product they’re selling. It’s the whole experience. The crafted space. The overall picture of the “ideal” life. They’re selling a dream design that we imagine enjoying within our own homes. They’re selling the big picture and they’re doing it so beautifully that they’re getting free promo from every person that steps inside. We call this user-generated content.

User-Generated Content (UGC) – any form of content created by users of a system or service and made available publicly on that system.

restoration hardware top floor
five daughters bakery wall

Most thriving businesses in our city are relying on UGC as a free marketing tool to spread the word about what they offer. Thanks to our mural walls, hipster coffee shops, iconic skyline and frequent celebrity visits, Nashville boasts a collection of over 850,000 posts on Instagram with #musiccity. So it’s no surprise to see so many of our retailers, mid-sized businesses, wide-reach corporations, and local restaurants alike are putting such emphasis on the “instagrammable” features of their brick & mortars for the tourists and locals alike. They’ve realized that it’s no longer just about the type of products they’re selling or the quality of the product itself. It’s about the experience the user is having with their product. 

It’s the feeling of peeling back crisp, bright yellow, textured paper before you open up your first Kendra Scott necklace. It’s the first bite you take of the most colorful dining experience in Nashville (@themocknash). It’s the touchscreen mirror with lighting control and outfit suggestions you get to flirt with in the Ralph Lauren dressing room (road trip to NY anyone!?). And of course, it’s the addition of scents to your favorite floors of the new Restoration Hardware (Level 3).

RH CEO Gary Friedman shared that only 12% of their sales come from online experience, that what sells their product is letting people “live” in it so they can more easily envision how their own space will look and feel. (source)

five daughters bakery instagram

Many of our favorite local businesses are growing their success by embracing this concept of retail marketing. Take Five Daughters for example. This donut company boasts one-of-a-kind 100 layer donuts with a dedication to “love above all things”. Yes, the treats are beyond delicious, but did you know that #FiveDaughtersBakery has been used over 12.5K times on Instagram!? Their storefronts boast bright colors, clean subway tile, friendly faces, and gorgeous pastries. Talk about IG-approved! Their feed is flooded with UGC… and mouth-watering goodness.

Warning: This feed will make your mouth water.

We believe we will continue to see retailers and restaurants emphasize the tangible experience of their products. And we love it! Not only does this marketing tactic benefit our IG feed (How many donut pictures is one company allowed to post… asking for a friend.), but it’s also feeding the local small business community with UGC. Don’t let the sell of “online convenience” fool you. People care enough to invest in a personal experience. Aesthetics matter. Interaction defines. The look and feel of a space can set you apart. So get creative business owners! Instagram has never looked so delicious and quite frankly, we can’t get enough.
restoration hardware patio
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