IKEA has set up a pop-up kitchen space in Shanghai where consumers are selected via social media to come and cook a meal for the people they love.

The company has established a glass room in the busy CBD area of Shanghai that has been designed as a kitchen fully stocked with IKEA furniture and cookware. IKEA’s WeChat followers are invited to sign up for the chance to cook for family and friends, resonating with the campaign’s title “Cook for Love.”

The pop-up kitchen is expected to provide a vivid showcase of smartly designed urban kitchens by inviting consumers to experience cooking in them for themselves, as well as to help convey a warm fuzzy feeling for busy urban dwellers who are short of time to cook for their family and friends.

Shopping isn’t buying

Investment in creating better shopping experiences can help retailers gain high earners (monthly household income above RMB16,000) and those living in tier one cities. Indeed, according to Mintel’s report Chinese Spending Habits China 2015, over 70% of consumers falling into these two groups claim to be willing to pay extra for better shopping experiences.

It is also important for brands to engage consumers even further through interactive activities, with 74% of Chinese consumers agreeing they encouraged them to make purchases according to Mintel’s report Online to Offline Retailing China 2015.

Experience is playing an important role in differentiating brick-and-mortar stores from the challenging O2O (online to offline) businesses. Brands across categories are coming up with cool and engaging activities in an attempt to keep both current customers interested and new customers surprised: the Four Seasons resort in Orlando for example has allowed guests who want to learn how to master coffee preparation to attend Barista Boot Camps, while a bar is opening in Dalston, London that will allow patrons to hammer nails into logs in exchange for a discount on their drinks. We have also seen the arrival of Nike’s House of Her, a five-floor training and empowering facility that engages women not only for shopping but also for training, exercising, and socializing.

Today’s consumers are growing to be more discerning and sophisticated with the products they buy and brands they love. It is important for brands to create a memorable and engaging journey for their customers to remember and share with others, and one way to go about this is to let customers be both the story creator and storyteller.

Philix Liu is a Trends Analyst for the APAC region and is based in Shanghai. His area of focus includes innovation, creative marketing campaigns, new design and other trends related content. He also helps inspire brands and agencies on-site to innovate in the APAC region.