How to create a memorable retail experience instore

Memorable instore experience

In this piece, David Anthony explores the way that different retailers can work with their existing retail space to create a memorable retail experience for shoppers.

Browns: The Powder Room

“It’s a pop-up space called the immersive room. Named the ‘powder room’, it was interesting to see they have put modern products in this old-fashioned space, making it almost like a set, with the idea to make consumers interact with it. It actually felt like an old bathroom with the patterns, fabrics and colours. We can look at this in a cool way as we appreciate vintage. I remember seeing a lot of people taking photographs and this went down well on social media. Combining old wallpaper, curtains, benchtops, a radio and all the modern products just works. It gets people talking and they have made the most of this very small space. Any retailer could create something like this from an office, stock room, or even a changing room.”

Unique retail experience takeaways

  • The smallest spaces can be turned into an immersive and memorable retail experience
  • Themed displays can be effective
  • Items can be upcycled to have an impact in retail
  • Combinations of vintage and new can work well together

Browns: Boutique Luxury

“They found this townhouse and have turned it into a new, modern destination. They still stock a lot of independent, British brands and were known for having more cutting-edge independent brands back in the 80s, 90s and 2000s, when not many were doing that. They’ve redone the townhouse and have a menswear and womenswear department. It’s almost like a smaller version of Dover Street Market, with more of a niche look. They have kept the floorboards and most of the room how they were and fitted them out in creative ways. The room with the yellow walls, they keep simple and call ‘The Yellow Room’ – it’s quite pokey with the structure that they have and they have kept a lot of it how it was originally. They have installed a mixture of contemporary elements like lighting and some fixtures and used these to accompany the original fixtures. You feel like you are exploring as they’re relatively small spaces and you go around corners, not knowing what you will bump into, winding around floors and deciding which room you want to enter next.”

Unique retail experience takeaways

  • Product grouping can turn shopping into a journey
  • Townhouses create a feeling of exploration in retail due to their small spaces and multiple rooms
  • Repurposing existing fixtures and fittings can keep costs low and maintain style

Dover Street Market: Avant-Garde Design

“Here, they change the decor and props in the spaces. Some have been there for a long time, such as the chairs with hats on them, while other areas, such as the one with the gold frame are new. The space with the green wallpaper is Gucci and it’s always great to photograph – it’s such a great concept space with wallpaper, furnishings, shelves, two mannequins and tables. In the image with white steps, you can see that they have created a focal point area. The spheres are also visible from outside, creating an element of mystery and surprise when you look in from outside. As you can see from their visual merchandising, they combine new and permanent fixtures to almost feel like staged art pieces. For example, the black and white bags are displayed in a way that feels artistic and there is a very sculptural feel around it, using plenty of stock to create the desired look.”

Unique retail experience takeaways

  • Some retailers upgrade specific displays and keep others the same for long periods of time
  • Products can be displayed in an artistic way
  • Somewhat obscuring the view from outside the shop can tempt people to come instore

Burlington Arcade: Boutique Luxury

“Burlington Arcade is a destination where you can window shop in London and feel like it’s an experience. All shopfronts are preserved and original, which brings character, so retailers can use this and reflect their character too. The footprint of these spaces is rather small, so retailers work with every element to their best advantage. For example, as a customer walking by, I can see everything in the space at a glance, so it’s their opportunity to use the whole space. You can see that some place something in the window, while others make it easy to see inside like a showcase. A lot of people go right up to these windows to look closely, with a feel of elegance and plenty of likeminded brands. Having everything on display means there’s pressure on retailers to display the right things to tempt purchases, but when done right, this can be very effective.”

Unique retail experience takeaways

  • Shops with a small footprint can be used as a showcase of products
  • Using different levels to display products is a great way to display many items without needing huge amounts of space

To update your instore design, read our Ultimate Guide to Visual Merchandising.