The Instore Creativity category of the Good Retail Awards set out to find retailers that have implemented an instore design to deliver a stand-out customer experience.
Last year’s winners, Ironbridge Candle Company, set the bar high with their interactive and customer-led design and shopping experience, involving customers more in the production process of products.
Following on from the success of last year’s awards, this year saw retailers enter from far and wide, sharing their fantastic instore initiatives and inspirational stories, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19. Those that were shortlisted were able to demonstrate the ways that their instore innovations have driven more customers into their store, as well as increasing customer satisfaction.
The Good Retail Awards’ panel of judges went through the shortlist for the Instore Creativity category, looking for new and creative instore ideas that combine resourcefulness and pioneering ideas to grow customer engagement and boost business. After a challenging judging process, the winner of the Good Retail Awards 2021’s Instore Creativity Award was decided.
The Instore Creativity Award winner – Wyle Blue World
Showcasing the most beautiful, exquisite handmade products from all corners of the globe, Wyle Blue World is decorated with Moroccan lanterns, with exotic scents filling the air alongside the sounds of world music. Selling handmade items chosen by Belinda herself on her travels, as well as locally made leather bags and covered journals, the shop showcases the most unique items, accompanied by Belinda’s in-depth knowledge of where everything has come from, telling each product’s story.
Explaining her vision and approach, Owner, Belinda, explained: “I think to survive, you have to be different and you must be passionate about what you sell and do. In my case, people love that it’s handmade and you’re making a difference to wherever you’re buying it from. I sell a mixture of things I have found on my travels. When I buy, I choose things that I am naturally drawn to, which means they are of a similar style and they merchandise well. You have to have a vision and be able to market that and then keep looking. Retail moves and changes so much that you must continuously adapt, so you don’t become just another shop.”
Aiming to create an experience that would impress her customers, Belinda created an atmospheric Moroccan themed alfresco bar in the garden behind her shop – the blueBAR. Working relentlessly to turn this vision into a reality, the blueBAR matched the colour and style of the shop. Employing a chef to work with the pizza ovens being sold instore, customers are able to enjoy a menu of homemade pizzas, sharing platters and more, all served on walnut boards and in hand decorated bowls that can be bought in the shop.
Belinda spoke about the reception that the BlueBAR has received, saying: “I put a board outside that was very visual and nobody expected it to be there, as it’s a tiny shop from the front. You go up the spiral staircase into this beautiful garden and everybody has been blown away by it.”
The products sold in Wyle Blue World make the shop unique, with Belinda sourcing them on her travels. Due to lockdowns, she has been utilising Facetime to place product orders with her friend in the mountains. She added: “I’ve made friends and contacts wherever I go. Istanbul is for my jewellery and textures. We’ve been to the Paris show and Hannah has been to India. In the meantime, it’s been about being resourceful, searching online and looking for British artisans and crafts too. Teamwork is so important, so I’m lucky to have found Hannah, as we work so well together.”
Wyle Blue World’s innovative approach to retail has seen the growth of a one-of-a-kind instore experience, but there is still plenty more to look forward to. Belinda added: “I’m going for the full licence as I was running the BlueBAR on a temporary licence, which meant you could only have 22 people. I want to start involving local businesses in creative sessions, getting different people together with street food and creating a lovely afternoon for people to drink wine and talk to each other. As an example, I’m planning ‘Creative Thursdays’, where you can dye your own fabric to have it turned into a cushion, as well as chocolate making events.”
Combining their stand-out offering with their carefully curated retail space and BlueBAR, Wyle Blue World has successfully generated sales, created employment and positioned itself as an exciting destination for all in Shrewsbury to enjoy.
The Good Retail Awards judges praised Wyle Blue World for their instore creativity, with Julie Driscoll, UK Regional Director of Hyve Group plc (Spring Fair) commenting: “What a beautiful store and a great time to take advantage of available outdoor space to create a beautiful visually merchandised bar that provides inspiration for customers, whilst creating a long term revenue stream and long lasting positive customer experiences.”
Catherine Erdly, Founder of the Resilient Retail Club added: “This is a great project – I love how a seemingly simple idea, to combine an eating space and a shop, has had such a profound impact on the business and drove sales. Using derelict space to create a lovely outdoor entertainment space is a triumph of vision for this small business.”
Rob Gamage, Managing Director of Modern Retail, said: “Wyle Blue World have shown incredible resilience and resourcefulness to battle through local flooding and the pandemic. Beyond that, they have created a real destination-led shopping experience that has transformed the fortunes of their business.”
The Good Retail Awards 2021 shortlist highlighted retail businesses that are leading the way in their creative approach to instore design. The calibre of entries was incredibly high this year, with the campaigns and creativity displayed making the judging process a real challenge.
The shortlist for the Instore Creativity award included:
The Lighting Company
The Lighting Company created a no-barrier shopping approach instore, introducing a styling area, as well as setting up NFC price and information tickets, allowing customers to view other items in specific ranges and discover relevant products.
Agha Home put experience at the forefront of their approach to instore shopping. Engaging with locals and artists alike, their strong and consistent art focus runs throughout their business.
Two Faced Twins
Twins Stella and Gem turned a bleak and run down seafront shelter into an inspiring art gallery. Creating a welcoming space to showcase their work to the public, the ‘Two Faced Twins’ have also redesigned their gallery regularly to make the viewing experience completely COVID-safe.
We’d like to thank everybody that entered the Good Retail Awards 2021. It’s been a pleasure to learn more about each and every entrant and we look forward to continuing to celebrate their successes in the coming months.
To read more about the Instore Creativity shortlist, click here.
Thanks again to all who have made the Good Retail Awards 2021 such a success. We’re proud to be part of a community that showcases the most inspirational and exciting initiatives in the industry. Congratulations again to Wyle Blue World and we look forward to continuing to share the most innovative campaigns in the world of retail.
To find out more about the Good Retail Awards, and to keep up to date with the latest news, click here.
Holly brings a wealth of experience in both print and digital publishing. As Modern Retail’s Content Editor, Holly is passionate about helping independent retailers to thrive in today’s ever-changing market.