We ask five leading interior design firms how the best store designs will drive trade in 2017.
David Dalziel, group creative director, Dalziel & Pow
Format development will be very interesting as will the significant difference between flagship scale and a kind of hyper-local, personal boutique offer. Brands will be more flexible in the future and more reactive to the market opportunities and they will also be smarter in their store design concepts.
New online brands such as Missguided will take their share of conventional retail. They will grow their real estate and chip away at the established players, so the likes of Topshop, River Island and New Look can’t be complacent.
We’ll see a more integrated approach to web and mobile sales in store. Technology will continue to humanise the process, less tech for tech sake and more integrated solutions. This is such a new phenomenon that we just don’t know how deep it can be.
We haven’t seen the worst of the Brexit effect and we won’t until it really happens. Store design has to step up to be part of the solution to a disaffected, uncertain shopper. We need to make customers love brands in retail.
We need to combat the hunger for convenience with an emotive, connected experience in store. That’s the challenge for bricks and mortar for the foreseeable future. It will polarise the market, those that get it and respond will thrive. Others are managing a slow decline. When great stores are coupled with a great online experience, retailers hit a sweet spot. One without the other is a struggle.
Kate Shepherd, director of strategy and insight, Checkland Kindleysides
It’s surprising how things evolve year on year. When you boil it down you have to play to the strengths of the physical store. What can you offer that you can’t get online? Talking to clients next year will be as much about service as anything else. We’ve just refitted Coast’s store in the Metrocentre in Gateshead [opened in November] and a huge part of the brief was making the fitting rooms wonderful as that’s something you can’t emulate online. It adds value to the product. It’s about rekindling what we’ve lost in terms of customer interaction.
In store theatre will be incredibly important in 2017. I think we will see an increasing polarisation between the playful avant garde and very simple, pared-back interiors. There’s a lot more scope to be whimsical with design and to make people smile, that’s what will keep our high streets alive.
Clients have always had one eye on the bottom line, so I don’t think there will be a big shift in that because of Brexit. That being said we are being asked more and more to provide flexibility in our designs. They must be enduring and future-proofed but increasingly they need to have the scope to change, particularly as far as merchandising is concerned.
Anshu Srivastava, director, MRA Architecture & Interior Design
Digital, localisation and a small footprint will be key for 2017. My clients are all asking how they can converge digital and store. Shoppers are using social media and mobiles to shop like never before, so retailers are wondering how the store fits into that narrative – it will be a real driving issue for next year.
For example, we are working with a US tech company that provides 3D visual recognition from a retailer’s website and brings it in store, so if a shopper takes a picture of a product it automatically brings up information on the piece and an option to buy online. That’s hugely powerful and will influence how the physical store is designed, such the positioning of kiosks.
Retailers are also looking for smaller stores. The cost of rent and rates means shops need to be smaller and work harder. We will see more shops becoming part of the distribution chain. If you have 300 stores across the country, it’s a no brainer to use them to fulfil online deliveries.
In the same vein data is also becoming more important, particularly data from local stores. In order to compete with online, retailers will be looking at what stock is selling well where and will be shifting products between stores to have the maximum impact.
John Courtney, director, Bobblehat
In Bobblehat’s experience our clients are being circumspect in how they increase their retail footprint, they have enjoyed a pretty good year and a continuation of their successful retail style will be the way forward in the medium term.
Great retail design continues to win business for us, and in the top-end environment we are in, the bricks and mortar and online cross-over will not be overnight.
Brexit has not necessarily affected trade, but has shaken confidence and only time will tell how this will translate when budgets are signed off for new retail projects.
Irene Maguire, director, Caulder Moore
In 2017 we will see further evolution of the demanding consumer. Shoppers today are always on – they are constantly connected and are becoming ever more discerning with their purchases and the experiences they partake in.
As such, next year it will be a necessity for retail spaces to fulfil the needs and desires of the increasingly shrewd shopper, through seamless customer experience and full digital integration – not just a few iPads in store.