A shift in customer shopping habits has seen the best retailers transform their brick-and-mortar spaces to be in line with customers’ changing needs and wants.
As part of Retail Week Connect Masterclass panel, our MD, Lisa Ronan discussed ‘The Role of the Store in this Digital Age’.
In a 3-part blog series, we look at the key topics in a successful store experience for today’s customers.
What approach do the best retailers have when it comes to store design?
It’s simply all about the customers. They don’t get blindsided by operational efficiency or sales per square foot. These factors should never influence a store design.
The best retailers consider their customers lives, their day-to-day experiences in and around their brand. They look at whether they can open at more suitable times or host a localised event. They introduce their customer to a new, relevant and exciting brand through collaboration. They provide a moment of human connection. The best brands improve their customers’ wellbeing in some way.
American Eagle Outfitters: customer connection
American Eagle Outfitters’ have a store in a university area of New York where they have a lounge upstairs with chargers, washers and dryers so customers can sit, chill, recharge (literally) and wash their clothes – what a customer connection! And then there’s mobile point-of-sale devices for taking payment anywhere in-store so they don’t have to queue.
Dyson: product testing
Dyson have that beautiful store on Oxford Street where you can throw a variety of dirt on the shop floor, then pick up and test their products to clean it up. This is so simple but it’s exactly what I want the Dyson store to give me.
The power of physical retail stores
Obviously, it’s not about selling a product, we all know that. It’s about showing them your brand is genuinely, authentically improving customers lives in some way. A physical space is so much stronger for communicating this than purely online or through social media.
Consider the locality, the community. Where you can, introduce the events that fit in with your community and answer a real need. Your floor staff are probably locals, equip them to notice these needs and give them the opportunity to feed this back to you. Our Designers conduct interviews with floor staff three months and six months after launch to ask floor staff their opinion. Give them a voice, get them on-board and let them genuinely influence future design.
Future proof your space to equip you to change in accordance with shopping habits. If an exciting marketing opportunity comes up in-store – you want to be able to easily create an event space. Leave yourself room to reflect and adapt your store design.
You should develop an approach or procedure for the store design. One that looks at the market, maps the omni-channel experience, attempts to forecast the future. Start with what your customer would want your brand to be in a physical space.