‘Designers need to ask what fits the store purpose best?'

Visual Merchandising and Retail Design|July 2020

‘Designers need to ask what fits the store purpose best?'
At a time when uncertainty and anxiety loom la g among shoppers , retailers have a huge responsibility in designing retail environments that make the customers and stafffeel safe, and th bes retailers are those who understa d that the future is theirs to define, says I n J hnsto Founder and Creative Director at Quinine, in an exclusive i raction with VM&RD. Quinine is a world-leading retail experie ce consul ancy known for research-drive us r-ce tric design approach that involves designing retail strategi , physical environments a d face-to-face experiences.

Retailers will now need to offer a range of touchpoints (both physical and digital) to their customers.

What are your current observations as far as brand spends on store design and other aspects of retail is concerned? Any specifically interesting trend you notice particularly in the context of the pandemic impact?

Brands want to spend less, but in a time when their customers expectations are increasing. Brands will need to be smart about how they spend their budgets. Retail is going to expand to be everywhere. Retailers will need less traditional stores, complemented by other kinds of physical touchpoints (pop-up, in-home, delivery, etc). One size fits all no longer works, different formats for different purposes will emerge as they consolidate retail estates and become more responsive to their customer’s needs.

Can you share some interesting observations regarding the way retailers have responded to the situation or can ideally respond?

The best retailers (most progressive) understand that the future is theirs to define and are exploring alternatives (back to ground zero), new ways to do things:

1. Ways to schedule the flow of customers with appointments only, with extended hours etc. This also helps manage staffing levels and can offer curated, personalised, customable experiences for customers.

2. Live Streaming to bring the store experience to the customer, which will increase.

3. Delivery options, including mobile stores that bring the store/ products to the customer.

4. Evolution of click and collect. Is there an outside touchpoint, a takeaway window, for customers to pick up goods? Thus, retaining in-store for different kinds of activities.

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July 2020