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Why bespoke retail environments and experiences will matter more than ever…


Written by Andrew Martin | May 23rd 2020
Although shoppers are starting to reduce their spend in these uncertain times, the virus has also brought to light a greater sense of responsibility in the way we shop. From buying produce directly from farmers to being more aware of what we actually need (versus what we don’t), shoppers are consuming in a much more mindful and sustainable way.


As demands for ethical products before the virus were at an all-time high, my view is that better designed, better made and longer lasting products will thrive. More than a fad, I would like to think that the crisis will make us all think harder about what we buy for the long-term.
So, attitudes towards buying have changed – this is important to accept to move forward. Retailers will need to think hard about what their customers will want and value in this new world. Already, we’re seeing brands such as ‘All Birds’ rise to the challenge, using their reach to support the NHS, as well as their customers with genuine content. Brands that are acting selflessly now are creating emotional connections with their audiences and life-long customers. Those that are trying to sell lounge wear, are not.
Looking ahead – for all of us, being prepared is key to how quickly we can bounce back. Part of being prepared means looking at physical retail spaces, as standing out will be the advantage once lockdown is finally lifted. Put simply, I don’t think there’s room for the mediocre. Store environments will need to be bespoke, designed to genuinely enhance the shopper experience and showcase the retailer’s values. Interior design needs to offer a rich experience which simply can’t be found online. Beyond spatial design, meaningful and memorable store activations will be crucial to bring footfall back in-store and increase sales. How we can make shoppers feel about a brand – beyond the products they sell – should be the focus.
Yes, things are changing rapidly and we need to respond, but this is the challenge and the opportunity.

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