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Physical retail isn’t dead! Retail store design in action

2018 retail predictions are everywhere in the press at the moment but my favourite has to be  the ‘bakers dozen’ by Steve Dennis, published in Forbes recently. I particularly agree with his very first prediction “Physical retail isn’t dead. Boring retail is.”

It speaks to what drives our strategic retail design endeavours here at Innovare Design as we help our retail clients meet the challenges facing bricks and mortar retail today.

“Retail’s not dead; it is changing…the physical store still matters” said Goldman Sachs in their 2017 retail report. And I couldn’t agree more. The fundamental desire to shop in store is still there from consumers. Yes digital – especially mobile – is playing a critical role in the consumer journey but it will not replace the role of the retail store.

Instead, as Steve Dennis suggests, the ongoing challenge for retailers is to ensure that the digital and in-store journeys work in harmony for customers – something I talked about over a year ago in Understanding Retail Shopper Behaviour. Consumers want common sense, joined up shopping journeys – they really do not think in terms of digital and physical channels!

The Goldman Sachs 2017 retail report also found that despite the growth in digital, 85% of retail sales are made in physical stores today. What’s more, they predict that this figure will only drop to around 70% in 5 years time. So their advice to retailers is:

“…to play to the strengths of their physical assets, pick a purpose and better connect with customers”.

And that’s why 2018 will be business as usual for us here at Innovare Design as we continue to deep dive into brand development and retail store design projects for our clients. We will be focussed on helping retailers both large and small across a range of retail sectors to ensure their physical stores reflect their unique brand stories and stay relevant and strong for today’s digitally savvy consumers.

A perfect example of how digital and physical retail are working in harmony for one of our clients is best told by a member of my team…

“I made someone’s day this Christmas – not with the carefully chosen and beautifully wrapped gift I gave them but with a selection box of donuts I took to the party! It seems that our new client – DumDum Donutterie – have a new fan! She had read all about them on Instagram and Facebook but had never actually tasted their range. She had started following them on Twitter and knew about their new Lakeside shop and café, which she was planning to visit. And then, there I was with the best gift ever – you can imagine her delight as she indulged in her first ever tasting!”

I’m pleased to report that this particular ‘Donutter’ wasn’t disappointed – she also loves the new Lakeside shop and café, which opened just before Christmas. You can read more about our strategic retail brand development work with DumDum Donnutterie here.


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