Innovations in Retail: The Best of 2017

We live in a time of transition between the traditional and the modern: between those who cling to the classic and those who embrace the new trends in full force. Of course, this also impacts the retail industry.

The arrival of new players to the retail market has shaken up many concepts that have been working for years and, in the face of this (mostly digital) revolution, there has been a reaction.

The evolution and development that have taken place in the retail world have changed the way that physical stores relate to customers, putting the time of the transaction in the backseat and attaching a particular importance to their customers’ experiences in retail outlets.

In the context of the changing concept of what a store should mean to its customers today, 2017 has been a full year in terms of innovations and solutions. Here you will find examples of the most successful projects that have been carried out by different brands in different industries.

Stores as Concepts

In physical spaces, experiences have taken over retail and are shaping the present and future of this industry. Customers want to be surprised when they go to any shopping center.

In the industry we have been aware of this trend for some time. In the past this has been accomplished by combining recreational venues with commercial facilities, so that customers can enjoy an afternoon seeing a movie in theaters after having wandered through different shops.

But what if we could bring both experiences to the same space and on top of this, associate them with a brand?

This is what Adidas did with their flagship store located on Fifth Avenue in New York. The entire space that the store occupies offers a totally unique experience. The store’s design was inspired by sports stadiums in American universities.

The store offers an immersive experience, where customers can enjoy tasty juice, pay at checkout stations inspired by box offices in sports venues, and use a locker room instead of fitting rooms. They can also get help from sports instructors who can answer fitness questions.

In short, this endeavor had two main objectives:

  1. To offer a unique and unforgettable experience.
  2. To generate top-of-mind awareness associating this experience with a brand, in this case, Adidas.

Creating a Unique Visual Experience

Using available technology in the market to provide new solutions has been the key for development in the retail industry in 2017. The creation of unique spaces that are centered on technology and its possibilities has taken physical spaces to another level.

Such is the case of Clapés Perfume Shops, in which different screens were installed around the perimeter of one of their stores. This may seem normal, but what if you could control all of the content shown on the screens in order to roll out offers and promotions?

That changes things a little bit, doesn’t it? Not just that, but thanks to the shared display of content, the customer can get a totally immersive experience through all of the screens, which gives special importance to the brand’s messages.

Now, let’s consider the case of Carrefour, which offers its customers the opportunity to enjoy all of its technological products in the same space with its new “Connect You” concept, whether in a hypermarket in a SiS (Shop in Shop) format, or inside stores in shopping malls.

All of the store’s furnishings were developed with one objective in mind: to add value to the products that are marketed there, as well as generate a unique visual experience for customers by creating a minimalist and spacious design and breaking up the homogeneity of the space with ambient lighting in the store and on the shelves.

In short, adapting the store’s furnishing to the project and brand concept as well as to the consumers themselves considerably improves perception, the amount of time visitors spend in the store and the possibilities to create selling opportunities.

Emotional Engagement with Customers

The purchase process involves different variables that go into the decision to buy a product. Among all of these variables, one of the most important is the emotional connection that is established between the brand and customer.

But this connection is not only formed because of the benefits of the product sold by the brand. The experience must go one step further.

Now, you might be asking yourself how this can be accomplished. But you should be asking yourself: What emotions does the brain remember best?

The brain remembers positive emotions, and if we factor in time, we already have the solution to our problem: entertainment and leisure.

And this is what was done by Tape-à-l’Œil, a children’s fashion store. In some of their stores, children could play an interactive game in the store, while parents take advantage of a coffee area as well as a hairdresser.

As you can see, quite a few solutions can be used to make a great impact on customers and make both the brand and the in-store experience unforgettable for them.

Personalization Is Key in Retail

Offering customers a personalized space is very important in retail, because the best way to ensure that a purchase is made is to increase the time spent in the store.

In order to accomplish this, the customer’s environment should be adapted to their needs and tastes. Being clear on what the business’s specific target is and adapting everything in the store to this are the keys to creating custom spaces, from communication and signage to the store’s furnishings.

The goal of these personalized spaces is to make customers feel as if they are in their home or wherever they will be using the products they buy in your store.

This was the case with the Foot District project. Foot District is an athletic clothing store with a contemporary and modern aesthetic, in line with life in the city.

Custom-made furniture was incorporated into the shop’s design. The concept of the flagship store was inspired by everything related to urban style and the city. HMY helped with personalizing the store’s furnishings.

What’s to Come…

Undoubtedly, these different concepts of stores all serve as examples of what’s to come and will serve as a baseline and an inspiration for retailers in the future. Thanks to all these innovations of 2017, brands will be able to better connect with their customers and, therefore, offer a more complete and satisfactory shopping experience.

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