In the fast-paced world of retail, trends change as rapidly as the seasons. But there’s one fad that shows no sign of fading as high street brands prepare for the summer months – experiential store environments.
That’s the opinion of Michael Trevethan, retail marketing expert at graphic display specialist Leach. Time-precious consumers have continued to demand more from their shopping surroundings so, to combat the dominance of ecommerce, high street retailers have had to rethink their place.
“The retailers that have maintained and boosted footfall despite challenging market conditions, are those that have continued to monitor the changing tastes and preferences of the ever-more discerning consumer,” Michael explains.
“Take an appliances store, for example – it’s becoming more about the opportunity to try the product in a contextual demo area, than it is being able to see every single possible option on a shelf. This often results in the product being delivered directly to the consumer’s home or work address the following day, but this usually goes down well!”
So why will we see further retailers adopting this trend in the summer months?
“Consumers are incredibly time precious in summer, not least because they’re preparing for their holidays!” explains Michael. “So, in the fashion sector, for example, convenience has driven many people to mass-purchase from ecommerce sites, knowing they’ll return 80% of the items that inevitably don’t fit or suit them. It’s become the norm, even though it’s far from ideal.
“Some savvy high street brands have capitalised on this, offering the opportunity to try on in store, with the convenience of delivery to home or work the next day. A quick dash to the shops can therefore be followed by a trip to the cinema, a bite to eat or a night out – without consumers being burdened by heavy bags they fear will get left behind!
“Impactful window dressings – as always – play a key role in drawing people in, but we’re seeing brands going to real efforts to maintain that visual impact throughout all in-store displays too. Ambient, beautiful surroundings definitely entice people to shop!”
The movement towards refined product lines in more experiential stores represents something of a hybrid solution, bridging the gap between traditional high street retail and ecommerce, concludes Michael.
“To make way for boutique-style rails and eye-catching displays in fashion stores, for example, probably means a customer can’t try a shirt on in 10 different colours! However, they can check the style/fit and browse interactive galleries before choosing what’s right for them, knowing the perfect item will arrive in the post, the very next day.”