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Pathway to success: luxury retail

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

September is always a busy time for trade shows, and this year was no exception. A particular highlight for us was meeting some of our luxury retail clients at the UK Jewellery Show at ExCel London. Now in its second year post lockdown, we soaked up the buzzing atmosphere and were glad to see this trade show starting to flourish again.

We work with some of the most successful jewellery and watch retailers in the UK who are thriving both on-line and on the high street. Even though a digital presence is undoubtedly a key sales component for them today, it’s the physical store space that really matters to their customers.

For luxury jewellery and global watch brands, the combination of expert knowledge and high-quality service needs to be supported by a comfortable and luxurious environment. These retailers need indulgent store spaces that mirror the fine details of the valuable gems and precision instruments they craft and sell. What’s more, with each purchase frequently taking hours over several visits, customers must feel completely relaxed and enjoy their time in store.

In recent years, more and more jewellery and watch retailers have realised that elevating the instore experience for their customers can have an immediate positive impact on their bottom lines. This is where we come in – by helping them to remain competitive and understand the ways they can improve their store spaces for customers and support superior instore service.

For us, design effectiveness is always uppermost in our service approach – i.e. we are not interested in design for design’s sake - our design solutions are aimed at increasing profits for our clients. We therefore follow a proven pathway to identify current retail issues and unlock the design and service priorities that will really make a difference to the customer experience and thereby business performance.

It all starts by pinning down the Brief. We work closely with our retailers right at the beginning to understand their business vision, uncover their specific challenges, and help them set achievable targets for their design investment.

Store, customer and staff audits often inform the brief-setting process, especially if a retailer ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’. When you’ve been operating successfully for years, it’s often difficult to stand back. Audits can be a quick way to flush out unknown issues and flag opportunities to improve the customer experience and support staff service delivery.

Brand reviews are an essential part of helping us as designers to understand what makes a particular retailer unique in their sector. We can then help them build brand narratives and stories that will more deeply engage their existing customers and attract new ones.

Brand building through storytelling is as vital in store as it is across PR, marketing, and communications. Of course, today’s multi-channel ‘phygital’ retail world means all customer touchpoints must be unified and consistent. So, we delve into how best to express brand stories within the physical space – a topic for a whole other blog post!

Space planning is done at an early stage. We pin down potential customer journey patterns, from the shopfront throughout the store, to understand the physical journeys customers take. This then allows us to create nuanced zones that support instore service and sales.

Only when we are armed with all the above insights, can the creative design stages begin. We tease out likes and dislikes through store safaris (accompanied visits to competitor stores) as well as through mood imagery. This gives our creative ideation a clear context from which to build unique and compelling designs. It’s a staged process with regular client check-ins to ensure our store design concept stays on track.

Finally, once the store concept design is signed off, we get down to detail with production drawing packs, furniture and material specifications that will be needed by the shop fitters and builders to deliver the store design development. Often, we source appropriate contractors for projects and support clients during the implementation phase, which can be a stressful process for the uninitiated!

Catching up with clients at the Jewellery Show, we discussed how vital bricks-and-mortar stores remain to these retailers – they are the beating hearts at the centre of their trade and need to be the best they can be to flourish. It’s our great privilege to support this sector by making the most of their stores and future-proofing their businesses.

The following case studies highlight some of the luxury store design solutions and results we've achieved for clients recently:

Berry’s Jewellers – Brand development, planning & retail store design

Berry's retail store design

Winner, Multiple Luxury Jewellery Retailer of the Year, Professional Jeweller Awards 2023

Winner, Best New Store/Store Refurbishment of the Year, Professional Jeweller Awards 2019

“We are really pleased with the stores. They tick all the boxes and achieve what we wanted to achieve.” Simon Walton, MD, Berry’s Jewellers

Wakefields Jewellers – Planning & retail store design

Wakefield jewellers

Finalist, Best Store Refurbishment of the Year, WATCHPRO Awards 2021

“Despite the obvious pent-up demand post lockdown, the new store is definitely contributing to a significant uplift in trading.” Dominic Wakefield, Co-owner, Wakefields Jewellers

Rocks Jewellers – Brand development & retail store design

Rocks Jewellers

Finalist, Excellence in Collaboration, Irish Fit Out Awards 2020

“Innovare Design have helped us to reassert our brand authority over the store space. It’s been a real step-change for the business and the response from customers has been amazing.” Robert Rock, MD, Rock Jewellers, Dublin

Clogau Jewellers - Brand review & new store concept

Clogau Jewellers

Winner, Mono-Brand Retailer of the Year, UK Jewellery Awards 2019

“… sales in the refitted Cardiff store have increased by almost 20%.” Ben Roberts, MD, Clogau Jewellers


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