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Immi Marsh, Marketing Executive

Our very own Chief Creative Officer, Mike Roberts, took to the stage at Retail Design Expo last week, accompanied on the panel by Jon Tollit, Principal at Gensler and moderated by Saisangeeth Daswani, Advisory Strategist at Stylus, to discuss the hot topic of The Store of the Future.

We’ve compiled our top 5 takeaways from the panel discussion, combined with what we believe is shaping the future of retail.

1. The primal need for social interaction, for learning and for sharing

Can you imagine a future with no shops? With a rise in e-commerce brands laying down bricks and mortar, it’s very hard to believe that the death of the high street is about to happen any time soon. As Mike so rightly explained, “The primal need for social interaction, for learning, for sharing” will always be there, therefore the need for the physical shop isn’t going anywhere.

2. Excite and calm the senses

The concept of a store solely existing for the monetary, retail transaction is a thing of the past. Yes, its purpose is to sell products, but the evolution of the store is now about immersing the customer in a complete experience. This means that you must connect with the senses; an emotional rollercoaster that both raises heart rates and creates mindful moments for the customer at all of the right touchpoints.

3. Drive stories and narrative to bring people together

Retail spaces are no longer about consultation, but about conversation. Brands need to immerse customers in their story, bringing them together in a community, and thus resonating with them long after they have left the store.

4. Treat everything as content, even verbal interactions

As the saying goes, content is king. It surrounds you as you enter into a physical retail space- from the window displays, to the POS, to digital signage, even to the store staff. The store needs to live and breathe the brand at every touchpoint and interaction.

5. Humans first, tech second

The final closing note of the panel- and possibly the most important- in the wise words of Mike was “Put humans first and tech second, every single time.”
We have a lot of potential clients that come to us and say: ‘We need to get digital into retail’. And when we ask why, they say, because their competitors are. We love digital, but it needs to feel relevant. Through emotional journey mapping, we use tech to celebrate the highs and boost the lows- putting humans first every time.