5 steps to Retail Design Success

By Marina Vaganova, Business Director, Russia

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Five steps to retail design success

Few behaviours involve as many possible motives and outcomes as that of a purchase decision. As consumers, we all face more choices than ever before, delivered in a wider variety of ways and channels.

After 15+ years of creating and delivering innovative retail environments, we’ve identified five key steps that will help you to stay ahead of the game.

At Shop Forever, a leading Russian retail conference, I recently spoke alongside experts from retailers such as Leroy Merlin and METRO Cash&Carry and we all agreed on one thing: the purchasing process is growing more and more complex.

Marina Vaganova

The Future of Brand Experience

The 2018 PWC Retail Barometer shows that retailers consider the development of new marketing strategies and new retail formats to be in the top five of their priorities.

It is universally accepted that customer experience is key to success, but what do these new strategies and formats look like?

And more importantly, how do you create and measure them?

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1. Deconstruction of the Customer Journey

When it comes to creating brand experiences, these same design principles of Steve Jobs also apply to retail. It’s all about how each element works together whilst remaining true to your brand position.

To construct the perfect brand experience, first you have to deconstruct it. Strip it right back to basics by deconstructing the entire customer journey into its smallest component parts and then re-engineering each part to operate more efficiently than before.


2. Reconstruction of the Customer Journey

Creating a successful retail experience means analysing each decision-making moment, online and in store, to understand the underlying customer need.

Then comes the alchemy of selecting the exact combination of people, place, product and process to deliver delight in that micro-moment.

It involves using different language, methods, rituals and processes than your competitors so that the resulting experience is more fascinating, compared to anything else they’ve ever come across.

3. The Power of Now

The main battle for retailers does not take place at the last mile, at the traditional point of purchase; nor will price be the great differentiator that it is now.

The main challenge lies in creating a better consumer experience from the very first point of contact. The first brand touch point is more important than ever.

4. The 5 Ingredients for Successful Brand Experience

What does a successful brand experience look like?  Each element must be taken into account when considering the store format and layout. Retail experiences that sell will be:

  1. Engaging: They connect to all five senses: of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. They involve the customer in a visceral way.
  2. Unique: They are created using methods and instruments that are unusual, surprising and distinguish your brand from the competition.
  3. Personalised: They make the customer feel that the experience was created just for them. This may be as simple as recalling details and preferences from an earlier visit or it may be as complex as creating a completely customized product or service design just for them.
  4. Surprising: They contain experiences or interactions that are completely unexpected. Packing even one small but delightful surprise into the experience leaves a lasting impression.
  5. Repeatable. They are easy to roll out in the chain to create consistency across multiple outlets.

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5. Measuring Success

The greater availability of data allows us to drill down into the detail of every retail outlet. This allows us to micro-manage and analyse every step of the customer journey. Efficiency is measured by traditional metrics, such as traffic, conversion and profitability per square metre. Soon efficiency will also be measured using new metrics – such as the number of impressions per square metre.

Looking ahead, there are many other challenges facing retailers – the importance of building an ecosystem of seamless multichannels, the use of artificial intelligence, cross–category and cross regional benchmarking.


But that’s another subject for another time!

Marina Vaganova