We were recently asked by A1 Retail magazine to talk about the evolution of store design to a format more aligned with a showroom experience.

Not one to turn down a PR opportunity and always on the look out for a chance to give our thoughts on new trends, we jumped at the request. You can read the superb feature in full here with a bunch of expert opinions along with my own.

So, what’s behind this move?
Stores have classically focused on the display of as many products as possible and the final purchase, but their design and proposition has had to become increasingly complex to compete with online retailers as well as on today’s competitive high street.

Stores have evolved and now, like a typical showroom experience, they are increasingly being designed to encourage shoppers to dwell, and for longer.

Of course increased dwell time is the catalyst to increased sales.

The new in-store shopping experience
This evolved shopping experience is geared up to offer customers more opportunity to engage and enjoy their time browsing in store.

This means encouraging customers to see and touch and play with products with clued-up staff on hand to help.

Powerful techniques
Some of the powerful techniques enlisted include having an interactive digital hub so that you can showcase a broader range and breadth of product that wouldn’t ordinarily fit in your shop space.

Mass customization is also commonly deployed to encourage shoppers to visit stores, to dwell and to spend. Nike’s individualised trainers were just the beginning, but many retailers have taken this one step further by completely reinventing the supply chain. A great example is Shoes of Prey which has expert shoe stylists on-hand to guide shoppers through designing their own completely bespoke pair.

Another technique that’s attracting shoppers is to create and inspire a sense of community. Harrods engages keen cooks with its Summer Kitchen cookery school, Nike runs its own run and training clubs and B&Q has held DIY classes – all of which help to connect likeminded shoppers with the brand, encourage repeat visits and the amount of time spent in-store.

The in-store story doesn’t end here. Retailers will continue to evolve and advance their store and showroom experiences not only to compete but to keep up with shopper needs and the opportunities presented by new technology.

If you’d like to talk to us about the latest retail trends that can help drive shoppers to act, please get in touch today.

Sue Benson, managing director