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Design effectiveness in retail design

Last week we joined other members of the Design Business Association (DBA) for our AGM and to hear the results of the DBA Annual Survey. The Survey is a great source for members to benchmark the effectiveness of our design businesses as well as to discuss common issues and challenges.

And while this annual event is very much about reviewing and looking back, with so much uncertainty around the Brexit negotiations conversation over drinks quickly turned to the future.

“The future belongs to those who prepare for it today” said Malcolm X

Sorry, we know it’s an overused quote but it feels so pertinent at the moment. Not withstanding the impact of Brexit, retail is confronting dynamic changes in consumer behaviour that are shaking the core of the sector and felling some major retailers.

But when you dig deeper into the collapses the backstory is less surprising, especially to those of us who have worked in the retail sector for decades. For instance a recent Bloomberg opinion piece summarised House of Fraser’s current troubles as ‘what happens after years of underinvestment’. And there are plenty of examples of retailers with low confidence who are allowing the bad news stories and uncertainty of Brexit to lower their confidence and stifle much needed investment in their physical retail presence – it’s a vicious circle!

However, if we look to the US experience, Goldman Sachs lead retail analyst, Matt Fassler, sees a trend that proves that investing in the instore experience is a game-changer. Indeed, he reports a ‘retail renaissance’ in the US where survivors of eCommerce disruption are thriving having rethought their approach to the physical store.

And this positive outlook is borne out by our own experience, working with forward-thinking retailers who are future-focused. We spend a significant amount of time with our retail clients helping them prepare their futures – exploring how they can embrace the rapid rise of digital retail and finding new ways to improve the instore brand experience to better connect with their customers.

It’s a creative and innovative process but importantly it is also strategic and measured. We work with senior client teams who want to drive change in order to achieve breakthrough results for their brands and their physical retail spaces.

And that brings us back to the Design Business Association and why we have long been members. It’s because they are the global authority on design effectiveness and a champion of the market value that design brings. Passionate strategic designers like us who bring tangible business success to our clients across a range of sectors populate the DBA. And what unites us all is a common goal of best practice that evidences design as an economic force in business.

Below are a few projects that showcase that investing in strategic retail design really does work.

Brand extension and new store concepts have paved the way for securing a new partnership with Rolex

Brand development, new store & kiosk concepts, provided the platform for an international franchising launch

Brand review & development, new store concept, new wholesale VM/furniture design to better connect with customers and reflect the multi-channel nature of this international business

Brand review & development, new store concept, kiosk/cart concepts to re-engage customers and support international brand expansion

“…a strong contender for our guide to London’s best pasta restaurants”

Brand design & interior design. Frequently fully booked after just 3 months of opening. Praised by diners and professional critics from The Guardian to The Evening Standard


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