We ask seven leading interior design firms which key shopfit trends they expect to come through in 2015.
Group creative director, Dalziel + Pow
Not long ago, premium stores were more about the combination of monochrome finishes they could afford. Now it’s about brand expression: what materials suit a brand and how tocreate something unique. Céline, Dior, Valentino - many brands are trying harder to stand out.
We have seen digital design make an impact in the total retail experience. The White Company’s in-store digital technology in Norwich is an example of a brand delivering digital at a personal level.
In the past year, we’ve seen brands attempt to be more personal and connected, breaking down the barriers between stores and customers with workshops and personal shopping spaces.
Hopefully we will see less lookalike stores. Too many concepts rely on recycling the latest denim signage or the white framed gondolas sitting on the dark grey floor. I think there will be a less corporate approach to mass multiples, where shops are instead designed in response to their location, and their place in the brand’s portfolio. One size no longer fits all. In the digital arena, we will see fewer kiosks in store as customers revert to their own devices.
Convenience and contemplation will be polarised, with quick-pay, easy shopping in one area and calm shopping in another. There is room for both in 2015.
Chief executive, Brinkworth
The combination of online and in-store business is becoming an advantageous scenario. The web won’t kill stores; they are stronger together. As they merge, the sum is more than its parts.
Many retailers, such as [cyclewear and lifestyle brand] Rapha, use a space to its full capacity by putting on events that appeal to the customer, build up their community and enrich the brand. Social media and the web have also inspired retailers to generate activity for content, such as product launches and pop-up events.
Another innovative shift in using retail space has been to extend opening hours and offer different activities throughout the day to make the most of the usually expensive rents. Product volume is slowly shifting too, with many retailers realising that reducing density in store usually equates to increased sales. Having clarity and focus on items works, with larger quantities of stock viewed online.
With all of the above considered, clients are tending to require more flexibility within retail environments to accommodate these shifting activities. Retail has moved from static displays to versatility and communication.
Director, Caulder Moore
Clients Gina, Hackett, Marks & Spencer, Pepe Jeans London, Radley, Sweaty Betty, Snow + Rock, The White Company
Many of the conversations we have with clients in terms of what they are looking for from bricks-and-mortar focus on ensuring we work with them to create an experience that is emotionally engaging. This is so that it communicates the brand’s unique point of view. The store experience should be about narrative and communicating the brand ethos, not just a space to sell product.
As the popularity of online shopping increases, this is even more imperative. In reality, for brands it does not matter whether the customer buys online or in their branded store. In fact, one of our current fashion clients tells us that when they open a physical store in a particular location, they see an upswing in their online sales in that area. So being able to touch and see the product, as well as having a sensory experience that is unique to that specific brand, is still a vital part of a customer emotionally engaging with that brand.
The work we did for Pepe Jeans is the perfect example of the importance of using the store environment to reinforce the brand narrative. We have brought to life Pepe’s brand story of having started life on Portobello Road market. Over recent years, as the brand has grown, particularly in mainland Europe, something of this unique and compelling story was not being sufficiently communicated to customers. Our store concept, which aims to invoke the visual language of market stall retailing for Pepe, reinforced this narrative.
As part of the trend for flagships, the role of cafes and bars in stores to increase dwell time and reinforce destination status is also growing in importance. I think this ‘hybridisation’ will become even more influential as brands seek new ways to extend and strengthen bonds with their customers.
Founder and director, Four IV
Clients Alhokair Fashion Retail, Browns, Burberry, Clarks, Club 21 (Emporio Armani), Duchamp, Dunhill, F&F, Fenwick, Gas, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, John Smedley, Kurt Geiger, Liberty, Luella, Mamas & Papas, Mulberry, Thomas Pink, Timberland
As the retail market faces ever-increasing pressure and competition, brands need to stand out and have their own personality. Individualism comes not only from product but also from every other touch point of the retail experience, such as store size, fitting rooms and service, for example.
Retailers need to provide a customised experience. Individuality will play a key role to denote standout from competition.
How refreshing it is to enter a space that has a truly unique point of view, to inspire and provide a standout purchasing offer. Most products are now available from many different retail channels; some people want speed and efficiency and some want the seduction of shopping.
Therefore many customers want a point of view as well as a product. Individuality will become the most important trend in these days of celebrity endorsement and the plethora of ‘me too’ brands; the need to search out individual values will become increasingly important. The world is changing.
With multi-brand and department store clients, buyers would traditionally dictate the store environment, but now the design team and consultancies are leading this in order to attract brands.
The final point of purchase is becoming more sophisticated. Shoppers want confirmation through blogs or social media from friends, and then the final purchase is made in store. So retailers need to make sure they have a multichannel offer to deliver that.
Differentiation is becoming more of a challenge in the premium high street. Our client Jigsaw, for example, has a number of competitors all trying to attract the same customer. So whether that is with the product or environment, it is looking at how the brand can be differentiated, for example by creating social hubs to increase dwell time.
We think blurring the lines between digital and bricks-and-mortar will become more sophisticated in 2015. So there could be an interactive experience, such as a Bodymetrics scanner, which gives a consumer a reason to go there. It will be about using digital in a clever way, rather than for the sake of it.
Managing director, MRA Architecture & Interior Design
Clients Agent Provocateur, Christian Louboutin, Esprit, House of Hackney, Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture, Mango, Marc Jacobs, Matchesfashion.com, Nike
We work at two levels: luxury brand and high street. We see different trends and requirements for each.
At the higher end, there is very much a push back to an individual treatment for each store. Coming out of the recession in 2008 they were looking to save on budget and striving for consistency, but I suppose this is antithetical to luxury brands, which are supposed to be about being special and differentiation. Special features that are now particular to a certain location are more in demand.
On the high street we are working with retailers such as Schuh, and making stores work with and for their online offer is very important. It is not necessarily offering a screen experience in the store, but trying to make sure their online and bricks-and-mortar offer point to each other in terms of branding and graphics, and then more hidden stuff, such as Wi-Fi access points, integrating apps, handheld devices.
One thing we have seen a lot of over the last decade is brands looking back to their archives, but I think that trend is done. The ones that lead the way are looking forward, and we expect to see more of that.
Clients Chester Barrie, Duck and Cover, The Dulwich Trader, Elvis Jesus, Richard James Mayfair
I see fashion retailers continuing to require immediacy in response to exciting retail opportunities as they arise. Pop-up shops will be ever-more prevalent and specialists like us are geared to provide practical, flexible and creative solutions. We designed and installed a pop-up store for [men’s young fashion label] Elvis Jesus in the Trinity Leeds centre. It was a five-day process: three days to design and manufacture, two days to install. The place was transformed almost overnight. We also recently installed four concessions in Holland for Duck and Cover in V&D department stores in Enschede, Groningen, Utrecht and Arnhem and everything was completed in four days. Last-minute space opportunities often crop up. We have to be slick and fleet of foot these days and, of course, in budget.