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Hot topics at the Retail Design Expo 2017

Updated: Jun 21, 2019

We are looking forward to this year’s Retail Design Expo 2017, coming up on 8th and 9th May at Olympia.

We’ll be there as usual, meeting clients and contractors and getting lots of inspiration from the great conference programme.

At last year’s Retail Design Expo 2016, we presented a case study on a recently completed project for one of our innovative jewellery clients.

I’m delighted to say that project – Luxe by Hugh Rice – has been shortlisted for Best Store Environment by the UK Jewellery Awards, which will take place on 29th June at the London Hilton in Park Lane. You can see the awards shortlist here.

Retail design projects like this one led to us being commissioned to write an article for the NAJ magazine. You can also read this jewellery retail design piece on our website here.

Retail Design Expo Top Picks

With so many great speakers and seminars to choose from the conference programme, we’ve highlighted below a few sessions you won’t want to miss. You can find the full programme here.

So, without further ado, here are our ‘top picks’ from this year’s RDE event.

Creative arts building, Huddersfield University

Retail Design Student Awards

We will be there on day 1 of this year’s Expo to attend the session announcing the winners of the 2017 Retail Design Student Awards.

As mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been mentoring 30 students from Huddersfield University since November 2016, working on a design brief set by Pret a Manger. The three finalists who Pret a Manger and I chose, will exhibit their work at the Retail Design Expo 2017.

They will be judged against students from 5 other colleges, who have worked on different briefs. Portsmouth and Middlesex students have worked on a brief from Adidas, while Kingston and Glasgow have worked on a brief from Majestic Wine. Manchester have worked on the Pret a Manger brief as well as Huddersfield.

Of course I’ve got my fingers crossed for each of the Huddersfield finalists – especially as one of their students was last year’s winner!

Whatever the result, make sure you visit the exhibition of work by all the shortlisted students, where you’ll be able to see some of the rising stars of retail design!

Is Shopping in Shops Dead?

Is shopping in shops dead is a provocative session title but Tom Nathan should have some interesting insights from his position as General Manager at Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The shopping centre is, incidentally, the home of our award winning design solution for Hob Salons’ first-ever HOBman male grooming kiosk.

As retail designers, our experience in the industry suggests that the in-store experience is very much alive and well. Despite the rise in technological innovation and availability of online shopping.

Our blog post on Understanding Shopper Behaviour gives some interesting insights in to what shoppers want and shows that a high percentage of consumers still prefer to shop in stores, because they like to touch and feel products before they purchase.

I see that Tom Nathan’s session will also include a discussion of Generation Z – if this is a consumer group you want to know more about then you might also be interested in this Panel Discussion on Shopper Marketing for Millenials and GenZ – Challenges and Opportunities

Understanding Generation Z is also covered in this recent article I posted on LinkedIn from Internet Retailing, called getting under the skin of Generation Z.

Retail Reset: The 17/18 Trendscape

If you are interested in emerging consumer mindsets, then this keynote talk from Katie Baron of Stylus will undoubtedly have some fascinating food for thought, based on their global retail research and trends analysis service – Retail Reset: the 17/18 Trendscape.

The Power of VM within the Retail Strategy

The session, VM Performance – the Power of VM within the Business Strategy will raise a very interesting issue about how visual merchandising can positively impact your bottom line when integrated into your retail strategy. This is such an important issue and one that too many retailers still overlook today.


World premier store • First ever stand-alone store. • Urban basement concept in London’s Covent Garden. • Exciting video window wall lures customers to ‘underground’ shopping experience

Customer Experience in Store

With the in-store experience so critical for consumers today, this panel discussion, Customer Experience in Store, is definitely one you won’t want to miss.

Campaign Development and Design for the Multichannel Era

This session from the Head of Visual and Store Design at Space NK should be valuable if you need help making your customer journey as seamless as possible – something I touched on in my previous blog post – From Clicks to Bricks.

The Future of Retail Design

Obviously this is a topic close to our hearts and something we are discussing with our retail clients on a daily basis. This panel discussion will be chaired by Deborah Dawton of the Design Business Association (DBA). As a DBA member ourselves with a results oriented retail design focus, we will be attending and contributing to this discussion wherever we can.

VM at Christmas

Finally, ahead of the VM Christmas Awards – which will be announced at the show – there is a panel discussion about paving the way for exciting customer experiences that yield great annual returns. You can see our favourite 6 christmas window displays from 2016 here.

Whatever sessions you decide to attend, we hope you enjoy this year’s Expo. Of course we will also be making time to meet existing and new clients. So let me know if you’d like to catch up over a coffee…or even something stronger. See you there!


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