Defining and Demystifying Retail Experience Futures

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Defining and Demystifying Retail Experience Futures

It's that time of year, following the holiday excess many of our waistlines are looking a little fuller and our email inboxes are full of newsletters, including 2018 predictions and the key trends to consider. 

I love it; it’s full of hope for the year ahead and the promise of new experiences. But how many of these predictions and trends are truly new? I would argue that they are (at times) nauseating names that are actually enduring themes that have been driving change for years and are infinitely more influential for the foreseeable future (not just 2018). If I hear ‘phygital’ again I might throw up. Instead, let’s focus on these long wave drivers of change and consider how they can drive change within a retail experience context, so we can look at trends in a more useful light and consider their influence on future retail experiences beyond 2018.

With that in mind, here’s a retail experience framework that relates key drivers of change to an experiential and tactical context. This not only outlines some socio-cultural, technological and economic drivers of change, but also relates them tactically to your customers, brand and business – proposing some considerations for 2018 and beyond.

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How Innovative Brands Cut through the Commerce Cacophony

How Innovative Brands Cut through the Commerce Cacophony

Three principles to navigate the blurring lines of retail, content, and new product development to simultaneously solve for consumer and commercial needs. 

The recent retail experience innovations by Sephora, Nordstrom, IKEA and Amazon have certainly created a lot of noise, but what does it all mean and how can you navigate the rapidly changing retail landscape?

According to the recent Meaningful Brands report by Havas , ‘75% of us expect brands to make more of a contribution to our wellbeing and quality of life, yet only 40% believe brands are doing so’. Commercially, the Havas report also highlights that brands that do respond to these emotional consumer needs have benefited from an ‘increased share of wallet by up to nine times’. At the same time, our ever-evolving technology landscape is enabling product stories to be told and for products to be sold in more meaningful ways than ever. This technological complexity coupled with rising consumer expectations means brands need to be sharper than ever when navigating the blurring lines of retail, content, and new product development.

To cut through the noise, brands need to keep three principles in mind.

Where the Future Happens – the Interiors of Internet Companies

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Where the Future Happens – the Interiors of Internet Companies

In September, we saw the launch of the eagerly anticipated Apple Watch. Much has already been said about the potential impact of this device on the worlds of consumer electronics, fashion, well-being and productivity. It’s certainly a step forward when compared with other computers for your wrist already on the market, whatever your view of the design – or indeed of Apple. 

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Flooring: Spaces, Signs and Senses

Flooring: Spaces, Signs and Senses

India is one of the most stimulating environments I have ever been in. It was in Viluppuram, a small town in the far south-east of India, 40 km west of the Bay of Bengal, that I discovered Rangoli, a symbolic floor art, outside many people’s homes. Rangoli’s ancient symbols are thought to bring good luck and have been passed down through the ages, from one generation to the next, keeping both the art form and the tradition alive and, fortunately for all who visit, creating entrance areas that are both beautiful and meaningful.

Furniture Trends: Blurred Boundaries

Furniture Trends: Blurred Boundaries

Once upon a time, furniture tended to be designed by furniture designers, interiors by interior designers and products by, well, product designers.  Contemporary designers are increasingly  ignoring these traditional boundaries between disciplines.  As a product designer, I have worked on everything from mobile phones to hotel and airline interiors and, most recently, a range of furniture that exhibited at Milan 2010.  Not only are more designers skipping disciplinary boundaries, but the neat distinctions between the stuff that they design is also blurring.

Milan Salone 2010: Now the dust has settled

Milan Salone 2010: Now the dust has settled

As we hit our fourth hour in the queue at Milan Central train station, another Volcano ash stranded passenger, declared ‘There’s no trains to Paris till Saturday, so I’m buying an old car instead’. An escape in an original Fiat 500 through the Swiss alps came to mind.