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HUSH and American Express Launch “Shop Small” Interactive Installation

Shopping has always been a hugely cultural and communal process, especially at the local level where small businesses and their customers interact in intimate ways. Looking to tap into this shared experience, American Express collaborated with design agency HUSH to create the “Shop Small” interactive installation, a playful expansion of their successful campaign created to help shoppers find their favorite small retail merchants.

“We delivered a highly personal, productized experience for American Express that foregrounds the locality and uniqueness of small business merchants,” explains HUSH partner David Schwarz. “The result is an engaging platform that is scalable to any location and leverages what we know about retail customers – that they desire experiences that surprise and delight.”

Playing off the design language of small retail, the “Shop Small” installation acts as a natural digital storefront, allowing Seattle shoppers to interact with a series of large oak-encased interactive displays. With simple gestures, they curate a personalized wish list of cool products from local merchants. Browsing by several key small business products types, shoppers can easily swipe to discover new items in a fun, unexpected way. Shoppers can then either receive a shortcode to their wish list via mobile text or print their wish lists on-site as physical keepsakes. In both cases, they receive the relevant store and product info to help them find their items at small shops across Seattle.

An integrated city guide (developed by Jauntful) similarly helps users find a variety of local restaurants and other destinations to help guide them on their shopping journey with a “locals” perspective.

HUSH worked with American Express to keep the feel of the installation and its user experience simple and decidedly low-tech. “When you visit small businesses, the feeling is natural material, human-scale, tactile and personal. So, we didn’t want the installation to feel overtly digital,” shares HUSH creative director Jodi Terwilliger. “The way you pick up and put down a product–that simplicity and intimacy–it’s unique to small business. It needed to be honored by allowing people to shop for what they care about, supported by the local small business merchants. The concept blurs the line between ‘experiential’ and ‘functional’ in a way that’s respectful to the world it’s meant to represent.”

This “Shop Small” project is the latest in a string of immersive retail experiences that are charting the future of digital and retail, including a Super Bowl themed audio-visual installation in NYC’s Niketown and the Shanghai-based experiential flagship retail store for Under Armour.