If the answer to both those questions is “no” (or even if it is “yes”), take heed of PayPal‘s new experience marketing initiative, which recently unveiled in New York. Bank Innovation got a sneak peek at the payments company’s experience marketing center last week, and it was, to say the least, impressive.
The center is located in an office space that has yet to be identified in the building directory in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. It contains various stations that exemplify various use cases for PayPal’s services: a living room; a shop called Nik Nak Toys; a sporting event; a coffee shop called the Jane Street Cafe; a mobile vendor (see image left); etc. PayPal also has a Coinstar vending machine in the space to show its partnership with Coinstar in action. Potential customers of PayPal are walked through the various stations and shown PayPal in action. (Many thanks to our guide, Josh!) Visitors are even given a “map” of the center upon entrance.
The whole endeavor is intended to show PayPal in action, and that’s not easy with a financial services product. In fact, if someone told me that experiential marketing could work in financial services, I would have doubted it. The “experience marketing” in branches doesn’t exactly foster a waterfall of sales.
But work it does. PayPal has large screens by each station that exemplify a mobile device (see below). PayPal programmers custom-built the smartphone approximation software using Adobe Flash. Apparently, it was quite a challenge.
The retail software system PayPal uses in the experience marketing center was built by GSI Commerce, and is called Storenet. Like PayPal, GSI is also owned by eBay.
What PayPal’s center does is allow visitors — PayPal reportedly built it mainly to court retailers — see PayPal in action. It gives these potential clients PayPal’s “vision” for how it will work in the real world, as a retail payments services provider integrated with a mobile wallet. The attention to detail at the center was exemplary. (Those donuts in the “Jane Street Cafe” looked yum.) If this experience marketing won’t work for PayPal, I don’t know what will.
More images from PayPal’s experience marketing center: