The effect of Covid-19 has touched all parts of our business and all of our client briefs in multiple ways.
Our 3D retail design team recently sat down to discuss the role of physical stores in a post-Covid world…
Our role as a design agency has never been as important as it is now … and NO we’re not talking about including another hand sanitiser unit or sneeze guard in our next retail design concept!
We’re referring to well-executed, theatrical retail design… the bread and butter of our industry. We have the ability now more than ever to create and shape the future of retail design and customer experiences. We have the ability to create a positive impact as we begin to come out of lockdown…
We spend a large amount of time answering creative briefs from our clients here at Mynt with a huge emphasis on human emotion – with the end user’s needs always at our focus. There is now, more than ever, a need for this thought process to be applied to all aspects of the design industry. As physical retail designers we want to go one step further and not only create emotional designs but also empathetic designs. The general public is nervous… and rightfully so, it will take some gentle persuading to lure the consumers back into the world of physical retail. And so we need to offer experiences in-store that cannot be replicated online, yet seamlessly connect to a brand’s online communications, to create an effortless experience.
Our online shopping behaviour is now starting to mimic our in-store relationships pre-covid. The vast majority of online shopping is now anonymous and a pure transactional relationship. To leave the house to collect our ‘click and collect’ is now a highlight of the week. What we found to be exciting last year, as this all began, is now boring and mundane. The online retailers which are winning today are the ones that have been smart enough to use technology to build personal customer experiences into the mix, but again this is only true to a certain extent. In reality, the only online retailers which are truly winning have been the ones to offer sales 24/7 – albeit at the expense of the environment. Brand loyalty has never been brought for such a low price. We the people are craving more… we need more!
We can use this as a catalyst for the future of retail design concepts. There is going to be a physical-digital integration like never seen before. We have always flirted around the idea in our industry, but now there is a real need for a seamless integration to occur. But in what form will this manifest!?
Our bricks-and-mortar stores will have to incorporate the latest technological advancements in our industry in order to stay relevant and competitive. Tech-enhanced store design will become the norm. QR codes, selfie ‘magic’ mirrors and interactive displays which detect movement and play content or music are all things which we propose in our concepts but, due to budgets, can get filtered out and pushed to the side. We will finally have leverage in our concepts to truly go all out there – watch this space! HOWEVER, as we mentioned earlier on – all this tech isn’t going to be very empathetic to our customers. We need interaction on a human level to ensure we have a complete understanding of their needs and also how we can engage with these new tech-savvy stores. The general public is nervous about returning to retail – this may all be too much for them. Store fit-outs and total re-designs take time.
So, whilst relevant digital and physical integration experiments and pilot stores take shape, brands need something in the short term which can engage and interact with their consumers on a human & localised level, in order to not lose out on brand loyalty and the competition. The greatest way to achieve this isn’t a new concept… it has been around for years!
A flexible, multi-purpose, tactical retail space. The pop-up has the ability to create a meaningful space which can be used to educate, entertain and engage with customers on a digital and human level. By analysing customers’ online behaviour, we can work with brands to ensure their digital experiences seamlessly integrate within physical retail spaces, even down to a local level. We can even suggest locations where pop-ups should appear, and even recommend brand collaborations, new products and local events that a brand may not have previously considered, but will resonate with its customers.
Brands can also use the pop-up model as a fun way to interact on a human level with their customers, creating the opportunity to create and nurture long lasting relationships. The tactical pop-up can bring brand loyalty to the masses once again and truly be a tool to aid the return to retail in an empathetic, considered way.
Discuss your retail challenges and briefs with the team at Mynt by contacting Ollie Patterson.
Photos are owned by the brands.