A blog by Häfele…
High street giants are closing their stores in swathes – think Mothercare, Toys’R’Us and BHS. At the same time, online giants like Amazon are launching physical outlets for our convenience . So is physical shopping suffering or thriving?
Research shows consumers now spend one in every five pounds online . In a bid to rule in the digital world, retailers are throwing huge efforts and budgets behind ‘e-tail’ personalisation, meaning eCommerce sites are becoming more expensive to operate . But what many have failed to identify – or pay attention to – is what consumers want offline.
Other data reveals that shoppers like having a physical place to access all their products and services at once , while 71 per cent of Gen Z shoppers prefer to do so, in store . Additionally, millions of people still rely on cash to make purchases , which makes physical shopping the favoured option for many.
So when we know shoppers still want and need to see, feel, try and, in some cases, even smell or taste the items they are investing in before they buy, how can we make ‘experiential shopping’ special and spectacular, appealing to all the senses to strike a true competition with online shopping?
Retail and commercial store designers must focus on how great-looking stores can highlight the differences between online and offline shopping experiences, making the latter immersive and memorable, enabling the consumer to engage with their products.
Specialist lighting for example, has multiple benefits in a retail setting; able to show off a product’s best features, it is also useful to guide a customer around a store so they can discover products they might not otherwise be looking for, making the shopping experience useful, informative and productive.
LED furniture lighting systems – such as Loox by Häfele – can be used to highlight products that are popular amongst consumers or which fall in line with current trends, making it easier for the shopper to locate the items they’re looking for.
Loox can also be used to convey a store’s priorities, for example, in line with times of the year. The colour, warmth and intensity of the light is controlled via an app to enable displays to coincide with seasons, promotions or a certain mood to appeal to customers. Easy to install and with a clear colour coding system, Loox removes the need for a specialist electrician so you can save time and money, while the Lighting Design Service from Häfele can be utilised to create a customised lighting plan, product list and priced quote.
Bricks and mortar stores have a risk of being untidy and cluttered – something their online counterparts can never be accused of. To negate this issue, retailers should consider smart use of railings, hangers and drawer-like storage to showcase items in a clean and tidy environment.
The Shoptec range from Häfele features a comprehensive choice of brackets, rails, hinges and carriers designed to enable shopfitters to create clean layouts that make physical shopping a more comfortable and enjoyable experience, whilst keeping up to date with the latest innovations in retail design and style.
In addition, the Dialock range enables security of furniture encasing valuable items, only allowing pre-programmed cards to open them just like a hotel door.
The shift from a store-based past to a digital future looks set to progress beyond 2020, but this shouldn’t be feared, it should be embraced. Retail and commercial designers should take inspiration from China’s ‘smart stores’ – clever retail spaces where shoppers’ experiences are as personalised and immersive offline as they are online. The approach has led to some of the country’s largest online shopping brands launching new, enormous ‘destination’ stores , which are as interactive and convenient as their ecommerce equivalents.
Wherever retail takes us in the next decade, those who use store design to transform consumers’ physical shopping experiences will be rewarded for their ambition and innovation. Anyone ready for the challenge will find a wealth of manufacturers and service providers prepared to take it on, too.
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