We have seen the rise of the local high street again, consumers finding the hidden gems of their community and giving them the opportunity to shine. The move to a large majority of our country’s work force making their homes their offices means that the major city centre shops are seeing less footfall.
We feel this trend is going to stick and has the opportunity to give local communities the product and services they desire. There are concepts out there from Nike that are showing that smaller local stores are more adaptable and can be merchandised to be more specific to the area. The customer centric motive will allow retailers to build communities around their store with an authentic feel.
It’s increasingly obvious that sustainable design principles have been applied to the products and services of many major brands as consumer understanding and demand has increased, which is a great thing, and long may it continue.
Whilst brands have been quick to adopt a “greener” product line up, the same attention is yet to be brought to the retail environments in which they are sold. It’s important to take note of this because whilst the average customer won’t think twice about it, the regular updates and re-designs create a very significant pattern of waste.
Being able to talk about a more responsible approach to retailing will enhance the sustainable credentials of any brand and give far greater validity to a lot of the sustainability statements that form part of today’s marketing efforts
The digital experience is anchored around user experience, the consumer at the centre of every decision made to create the best experience. This needs to be replicated in a physical form as we welcome back our consumer to retail spaces. As we see the transaction become less important in retail spaces, we need to produce the highest level of service to replicate that of the brand’s products.
We will be creating retail theatres. The consumers’ experience, and feeling towards a brand, needs to be created the moment they are in contact with the retail environment.
This level of service needs to be felt in every detail of the store design and positively affect both the employees and consumers of any given retailer. Service needs to be provided with emotional and physcial intelligence.
The word may not flow off the tongue and cannot yet be found in the English dictionary, but the principle of combing the physical nature of a environment with the attraction of the digital world is going to flourish this year. Omnichannel and 360 retail are going to advance into a seamless world. The consumer can browse online, try on in store and then be delivered to their home, or order online, pick up in store and return via post. There is the possibility of a conversion on any channel.
What we are going to see is the use of digital technology within a physical store to strengthen the brand messaging in store.
And not digital gimic for gimic’s sake. Functional, experience-enhancing, consumer-conscious digital. Simple changes such as increases in contactless payment limits and multiple scan and go locations will make it more possible for consumers to buy what they want, how they want.
Let’s bring retail to the people. As consumers start to fill our streets, buildings and transport systems, the world is going to be a different place. The concept of a well-designed pop up is that it is fully adaptable and puts less long term pressure on the brands. Digital native brands are not going to be looking to sign long 5-10 year leases, they will want to be agile. Retail is going to be flexible and where you find physical retail is going to change.
Those transport hubs will be the perfect location to pick up your meal for that night. The small retail space at the bottom of your office is a great location for a seasonal brands to share a location. A staycation holiday rental is a relaxed and creative space to showcase lighting, homeware and outdoor living,
The concept of single location retail is no longer relevant. The shopping hubs of city centres and shopping malls have been dispersed and consumers will spend where and when they feel comfortable. Digital resources bring retail into peoples homes and we believe it is the role of brands and retailers to inspire in ever more far reaching locations.