The company has since collaborated with brands such as hygiene product company Raze, the Grand Hyatt and technology brand Xiaomi to create unique installations in Hong Kong. Teleport is now thinking of having another exhibition in Singapore in the near future, and negotiations are already underway with a variety of stakeholders.
The core purchasing experience
According to Eremyan, Teleport is definitely focusing on entering the retail sector in the near future and potentially evolve into a retail-as-a-service business model.
“We can build an immersive experience for brands, curate different products in this space, and visitors can also have the opportunity to purchase them right there,” Eremyan told Inside Retail.
He feels if prospective customers experience the highly curated yet immersive purchasing experience, it will build trust, which is a gateway to successful customer acquisition.
“In order to power these immersive experiences, you need to have very strong storytelling, as without conceptualisation and the right messaging, these technologies will just remain hardware, and nothing else.”
Eremyan feels that the offline world for storytelling is going to be a new niche that will require a lot of different skills. Like a theatrical performance, brands need to view these experiential installations as a “theatre for their products.”
“We are at the intersection of art and technology, and we can bring creative campaigns to life in the offline world for a cohesive brand experience, just like a grand theatre,” he said.
An idea was born
It all started back in 2017, when Eremyan was helping a friend make a documentary about the future. During the process, Eremyan flew to San Francisco to interview professors from Berkeley and Stanford, as well as startup founders and investors. These interviews focused on what could be possible in the next 50 years, inspiring Eremyan to create a futuristic environment with readily available technologies.
“The idea of Teleport was to bring together the coolest technologies and then put them in one place to create an entertaining experience for customers. We did it before the pandemic, and there was a boom in the experience economy then, so the timing was perfect,” said Eremyan.
Eremyan believes the time to reinvent the retail experience is upon us. He believes that his company has the potential to reimagine the customer experience, personalisation and storytelling of brands in the retail space.
“Immersive experiences can be a very strong medium to communicate a brand’s message to consumers. You want to create memories, so creating this content is very important for the retail industry,” he said.
Time to level up
According to Eremyan, there are enough physical stores using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and projection mapping to showcase their products in an immersive way to consumers.
“If your shop does not look like a shop, I think that’s the way to go, as these new ways to engage your customers are the best gateway towards creating lasting memories for brands and products,” he said.
Eremyan noted that Teleport started way before the metaverse and the current NFT craze. In fact, some of his prospective customers in California have even coined his company as the ‘offline metaverse’ equivalent of what is available online.
“Instead of the virtual reality headset, our whole space becomes a device that gives you a full body walkthrough experience with a digital heart, so we bring everything together in an offline experience, and make it super fun,” he explained.
Is the hype real?
A recent report by McKinsey&Co estimated that the potential economic value of the metaverse could reach $5 trillion in impact by 2030, which is roughly equivalent to the size of Japan’s economy.
Eremyan feels that the hype is justified, as with it comes a lot of resources in terms of funding, and governments and companies start taking advantage of this metaverse-led future.
“This hype is good because in the end, customers stand to win from all this, and brands will jump on the bandwagon to come up with cool promotions and campaigns,” he said.
“I can see the future of interoperable and interchangeable metaverses that will allow users to roam from one platform to another in an open manner, and this is where the hype can make sure there is growth in this sector.”
In terms of the APAC marketplace, Eremyan is quick to note that Asian brands are generally more conservative in the uptake of these new technologies, compared to their Western counterparts.
Conservatism hampers growth
From his understanding, Asian brands tend to lean towards data points to support every business decision they make, and they put an emphasis on maintaining a data driven process in this regard.
“If something is very new to them, it’s hard for them to grasp it, and if there is no verifiable data to quantify to support it, it becomes tougher for them to justify these investments from a management point of view,” he said.
Nonetheless, his company has had successful collaborations with a number of brands in Hong Kong. Their collaboration with Raze, a face mask brand in Hong Kong, involved creating a 16-metre interactive projection installation for their products.
“We created a pop-up store for them, and it was a three-storey structure, and we just converted the whole installation into an immersive experience, it was fun and beautiful,” he said.
He feels that given time, companies will slowly embrace these technologies, as it has the potential to reimagine the bottom line for companies as they attract more customers through these imaginative mediums.
“As more people get a feel of what there is on offer, I believe brands will start latching on to this, seeing is believing, and as more experiences are created, more companies will start down this path,” he said.
It’s not been plain sailing for the brand, as Eremyan noted that the company experienced quite a few challenges with fundraising. Investors had to be convinced that their ‘experience concept’ could be viewed as a business model.
It was clear from the onset that he had to avoid the average investor, and look for tech-focused individuals.
“We had many iterations, we changed the way we presented our business, our vision and even our evolutionary plans,” he said.
Being brave and courageous is definitely something that he needed to have in his locker, and over time with the track record and portfolio of success with his collaborative efforts with brands, the company is on track for bigger and better things.
“We want to be the number one company producing immersive experiences in Hong Kong, and because we started early, we had time to make a lot of mistakes, learn from them and get better at our jobs over time,” he said.
New horizons await
We have seen enormous strides being made by brands in terms of gamification and personalisation of offerings in the digital space, with the aid of AR, VR, Web3 and NFT led initiatives. Eremyan echoed this sentiment and feels things are in a state of flux.
“Things are moving really fast, I mean, the pace has just been crazy, and with so many innovations, everyone is still trying to wrap their heads around it, figuring out what to do next.”
He feels this is the right time for brands to experiment in this space, make some mistakes, learn from them, and see how they can reimagine the process of customer retention.
The biggest challenge he sees is that most companies will struggle to implement these technologies in-house. Hiring the right people will be key, and collaborating with providers will be tricky as many of these technologies are still in their infancy.
“It’s great to see how things are evolving right now, maybe it all does not make much sense right now, but in a couple of years, it will all make sense, and get harmonised,” he concluded.