Stores are changing and adapting their retail design and merchandise to conform to new consumer expectations. They’re being propelled by the internet of all things towards an era where the customer’s power is greater than that of the brand. Customers are choosing their stores according to their experience and the product is becoming less relevant. To add to this, consumers now view products an average of 8 times before making a purchase. The internet of all things brings some shiny, brilliant, scary and daunting prospects.
What does this mean for the high-street? Millenials are said to have a short attention span and little patience. Gone are the days where shoppers were forced to find items on the high-street. Now retailers are haunted by the phrase “I’ll just look online”.
Retailers are haunted by the phrase “I’ll just look online”.
What do we do about this? We invent.
It is agreed that to engage an audience, is to talk to their emotional side. Most people can’t remember the time they brushed their teeth, but most can remember the first band they went to see. You remember the atmosphere, how it felt and maybe even what you wore. You remember it because it made you feel.
This is how we should treat our stores. We should be doing something different and using retail design to engage with customers and what they want. This also needs to reflect, and be reflected by, our brand. This is how to keep customers in the moment and block out the online competition.
Picture it, your perfect shop floor.
The perfect shop means different things to different people. When asked, people firstly mention what they would sell, and secondly the retail design. For me, my ideal shop sells beach wear and surf clothing. Think flipflops, baggy tees and brown bracelets. The store has a worn wooden floor and a wooden clad wall, in front of which lies the counter. The counter is made from mismatched wood that is washed with different colours and the grain just peeks through. The other walls are teal and one holds a surf board. Below the surf board there are crates attached to the wall by their bases. Shoe laces can then be tied around the top of the crate, so that shoes can be suspended inside and seen from anywhere in the store. In addition, there’s a black chalkboard enticing customers to write or draw why they love the sea.
When a customer walks into my imaginary shop, they feel it. The sea, the beach, the sand – vintage; retro elements that culminate in an experience. It’s likely to be a place they love, and the merchandise is complimented by its beachy surroundings. Now they want to take it home and they want to be part of it.
Good Retail Design
Good retail design means different things to different people and, importantly, it also means different things to different brands. Displays need to drive sales by taking brands the places the want to go, while also making the products sing their virtues. The balance can be tricky. While endeavoring to engage consumers, retailers must walk the line between style and intimidation. The focus must always be on the customer, their needs and pains, and creating atmosphere. In addition, the brand must think of its culture. But the retail design and the brand’s culture are not separate entities. They are actually interdependent and both feed into each other. Your displays should help you attract your customers’ attention and then should direct that attention straight towards your merchandise.
“If no one ever stands up to say “let’s try something new”, we all tick along in quiet conformity. This, in itself, can lead to unrest.”