At the recent retail property industry event MAPIC, there seems to have been a general consensus that the physical store, whilst still under pressure, is definitely not dead. In fact a number of presentations focussed on how retailers are reimagining their physical spaces to make them more experiential and move them beyond places that just sell stuff!
As retail designers this is music to our ears. Retail store design is our bread and butter so of course we agree that the role of the physical retail space is important. But more important to us, is a dawning realisation from the retail sector that individualising the store experience for the customer is now a must.
“Decision making on products and experiences has become inextricably linked to identity” Trendwatching.com
Trend analysts Trendwatching.com explain the importance of ‘meaning’ and brand ‘back stories’ for today’s consumers in their report Retail Trends 2020 & beyond.
But how do retailers actually deliver this? The sad truth is that many don’t because they are out of touch with two vital building blocks – their brand story and what their customers think.
Struggling retailers need to get back to basics and invest in clearly identifying their brand and exploring how they can differentiate themselves from their competitors. And of equal importance, is the need to get closer to their customers to properly understand what they think and why they choose their store/brand. Unlocking the answers to these questions gives retailers and brands the key to build authentic brand stories that their customers will want to engage with.
A great example of authentic brand storytelling is of course Levis’. The introduction and on-going development of their Tailor Shops service is also inspired. Not only are shoppers able to customise and repair garments but they are also satisfying the modern day craving for sustainable fashion too.
Back in the summer we published a blog about bringing your brand to life in-store. It’s a subject we are often asked to speak about. Indeed, Lloyd Blakey our Creative Director recently joined the Building a Brand Story panel discussion at the 2019 Retail Jeweller Inspiring Independents. There was in depth discussion about what is meant by a brand story and how to maintain a consistent brand tone of voice across all retail platforms. And reassuringly there was unanimous agreement that ‘authenticity’ was the single most important thing when it comes to building your brand story.
So our message to the MAPIC community of retail real estate managers is keep on innovating and delivering authentic brand experiences that will delight today’s consumers! Oh…and congratulations to BOXPARK Wembley who won Best F&B Concept at the 2019 MAPIC Awards.