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Tomorrow's retail:

It's all about the in-store experience

Jo Tulej, Art Director at The Future Laboratory, is tasked with scrutinizing retail trends – in this article she paints a picture of what retailers and consumers can expect in the future.
Jo Tuleji Art Director The future lab

The phy-gital world

 

According to Tulej, the challenge for retailers is to engage with consumers emotionally and keep them in store longer: “Digital retailers can completely redesign their space very quickly and without constraints. It’s much more difficult for stores.

 

“In future, the more successful stores will touch all your senses and offer experiences – activities to immerse consumers in the lifestyle aspect of the brand. Nike training hubs, for example, do exercise classes in store. It’s about being savvy and experimental.”

 

Tulej notes that some online retailers are replicating the physical environment online to extend the customer experience: “You can see online retailers using virtual reality to give people the experience of walking through the shop.

 

“We use the term ‘phy-gital’ to describe the merging of the physical and digital. This blurring of the lines is one of the most important trends of recent years and is not going away. Physical space gives a test bed for new tech and apps. What’s more, brands are able to monitor behaviour.

Multi-sensory experiences

Tulej says retailers are offering increasingly sophisticated, multi-sensory experiences in-store. “We worked with Selfridges and Givaudin to research how you can distil a sense of character through fragrance. Imagine a pop-up in a huge, iconic department store. Visitors entered a kind of Willy Wonkaesque laboratory with amazing lights and glass walls.

 

When a customer entered the space, they were asked to fill in a highly visual questionnaire on iPads. They then put on a head set and were led through a series of immersive installations – opening drawers and picking up objects etc. An actor wearing a lab coat then asked them questions about their experience, and explained the fragrance that had been selected for them, based on a generated code.”

multi sensory expereinces in-store

Light and visuals can change people's state of mind and open them up to new ideas and emotions"

 

Jo Tulej

Art Director and Research, The Future Laboratory

Low-tech simplicity, 
high-impact authenticity


Cutting-edge technology can create memorable in-stores experiences. But simplicity can work just as well, particularly for brands trying to convey authenticity: “Germina food store in Mexico City has stripped away any unnecessary design and kept a market feel,” explains Tulej. “It has minimal, warm colors and provides a very human experience.”
retailers missed opportinities
Retailers missed opportunities
70% leave store without making a purchase

70% of people leave stores without making a purchase.*

 

* Source The NPD Group Inc / Shopping Advisory Services

Millennials love stores
81% of millennials do their retail spending in stores

81% of millennials do their retail spending in stores.* 

 

* Source The NPD Group Inc / Shopping Advisory Services

Technology's essential - but keep it human

 

It’s important to experiment and test, but brands should focus on what they’re trying to achieve first: “Tech can be wonderful, but it can also get in the way of experiences,” says Tulej. “The best user experiences improve people’s lives and solve problems.”

 

“When brands invest in infrastructure to offer great services, we call it ‘whole-chain thinking’ – for example, Shoes of Prey’s collaboration with Nordstrom. Customers design their shoes in store, then they’re delivered within two weeks because Shoes of Prey owns factories in China.”

The power of lighting

 

According to Tulej, light and visuals can change people’s state of mind and open them up to new ideas and emotions. “The Diesel store in Rome embraced digital projections involving moving abstract shapes that could be influenced by tweeting, for its POSTroma project. It was conceptual and shows the possibility presented by flexible spaces.”

 

“And at the Meditation Nightclub pop-up in Las Vegas, visitors wore an EEG headset to monitor their brainwaves, which were translated into projections on the wall. Other brands are experimenting with this idea of ‘hacking’ into people’s consciousness.”

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