Retailers are using the term retail theatre (theater) to imply a service offer that is different and special. An important component of the offer is an increased opportunity for consumers to interact and participate within the overall experience. This article compares consumer participation in retail theatre with audience participation in actual theatre. It draws on ideas from Bertolt Brecht, a playwright who is widely recognised for his application of radical and innovative methods to engage his audiences in all aspects of a performance. A detailed examination of Brecht’s methods is structured around his management and development of the roles and performances of actors, his techniques for providing planned opportunities for audiences to influence performances, and his arrangement of staging and mechanics to stimulate audience participation. Implications for retailers, of the comparison, relate to both human resource management and operational considerations, and challenge conventional practice. It is advocated that the actual theatre is a rich source of ideas for retailers wishing to offer different and engaging “experiences” to consumers.
Harris, K., Harris, R. and Baron, S. (2001), "Customer participation in retail service: lessons from Brecht", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 29 No. 8, pp. 359-369. https://doi.org/10.1108/09590550110396845Download as .RIS
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