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Retail Design: Making Shopping Experiences Immediately Tangible - Pudding Sample

People have five senses - and when shopping they want to use them all. Why interior architecture and retail design are more important than ever, what challenges they master and what competition they have to reckon with.
10 August, 2021
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Meanwhile, the wounds that the booming online trade has inflicted on the city's body are becoming more and more visible. And it is not just in retail that many are anxiously asking themselves the question: Will the inner cities continue to desolate, will their social and cultural life lose diversity and liveliness? What can be thrown into the balance against factors such as expensive commercial rents, limited living space, the relocation of work to the home office in the suburbs of the big cities and the climate-related reduction in individual traffic?

The logic of digitization

The department stores failed with their integrated brand shops. Do retail stores now also have to submit to the logic of digitization and transform themselves into "content hubs" and websites that are enhanced with a haptic experience? Does the real space ultimately mutate into a media appendage that contributes to the image and brand? Or is it possible to reconnect the shopping experience, retail design, cultural environment and social closeness?

There are currently more questions than answers. When it comes to revitalizing inner cities - and not just economically necessary - and maintaining the diversity of offers beyond ubiquitous global brands, interior design plays a key role in concert with architecture, urban planning and politics. Despite or because of the digital competition for on-site charging. In the “lively ground floor zone” where the shops are located, the aim is to address customers. An inviting retail design and ambience lets you perceive the “public interiors”.

Retail design and ambience

Bettina Kratz, managing director of Kplus Concept in Düsseldorf leaves no doubt about it: In the inner cities, a rethink has to be made. Aesthetically convincing interiors remain important, but above all an attractive mix of industries, as is often found in neighborhood centers, can help. Also because of lower rental prices, these are not yet dominated by the same global brands whose offers can be easily found online. In particular, as she says, “little pearls”, for example a confectioner or a shoemaker, should not be allowed to go. Here - with the support of politics, among other things - protection zones must be created and the diversity of the offer promoted.

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Attractive mix of industries

According to a recent survey by the market and opinion research institute Yougov, 62% of consumers believe that shopping in stores is that they can interact directly with the product there. Compare, select, try on - everything is quick. What you have bought can be taken with you immediately. Since many could not or did not want to physically come to the shops during the pandemic, because they were either closed or you had to register and submit a negative test, one can now hope for a countermovement.

But it does not solve the basic problem. No matter how things develop, what is certain is that when it comes to repositioning a store, but also a restaurant or takeaway, interior designers have a major integrative task that goes far beyond aesthetic decisions. You don't just act in the traditional way as interior decorators. Rather, they determine the appearance and atmosphere of the rooms. Your individual solutions for retail design have more in mind than globally rolled out marketing. As branding consultants, they give large and small shops a specific face and, if necessary, help design the online presence, with or without a shop.

The Snøhetta was exemplary implemented for the Norwegian fashion house Moniker. In terms of brand identity, the concept includes interior design, retail design, graphics and the online presence. A tried and tested means of surviving the competition with brand shops is a convincing color concept. This applies, for example, to the pudding bar 'Pudu Pudu', which is customary for Dr. Oetker in pool blue and pink. The bar is not out of line anywhere, but in hip California's Venice Beach. The location should not be underestimated.

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Color contrast pink and gray

A concept like 'Elaine's Takeaway' by Jana Vonofakos and her office Vrai Interior Architecture can also be successful without a beach - at least in Frankfurt am Main, where it tastes the color contrast to the gray of the surroundings. “The pink shade as the main color comes from the logo and the design of the main restaurant. He puts the fruit and vegetables in the limelight, ”says Vonofakos. The shade of gray chosen as a contrast symbolically refers to the concrete facades of the banking district, in the middle of which the deli is located.

This also works without the superstructure of redesigning pudding for Generation Z and Millennials - including rooms and dishes suitable for instagram. In the end, only tailor-made solutions help against all the uniformly designed chains. The shop for everyone does not exist, no matter how hip or dignified, how extravagant or purist it may be furnished. Marketing knows target groups, a website user. But a shop has real customers.

Frustrated online shoppers

Often enough, this is also part of the truth, online shoppers have to find out in frustration how cumbersome it can be to scroll through dozens of pages in order to filter out the right one. The lesson to be learned from this: There are no universal solutions. Since today hardly any provider can be present online or offline alone, a lot is being tinkered with hybrid concepts. As the already defunct Decathlon Store from Kplus Concept in Stuttgart demonstrated, the respective strengths can be combined.

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Augmented reality

Others, such as Adidas and Burberry, are experimenting with augmented reality (AR). It remains to be seen whether, as the relevant strategists believe, AR as a lifestyle accessory will become a “disruptive game changer” in marketing. The fact is that many customers don't feel like being fed with abstract virtual image spaces. Anyone who thinks they can replace durable interior design with (cheaper, supposedly more efficient) web and UX design will only end up enlarging the urban wasteland.

In contrast to such technoid, but limited worlds of experience, a convincing physical retail design and concept condenses an entire product world, as it were, pictorially in a single room. Interior designers are predestined for the implementation. The result of the creative task to be mastered in the coming years - to come back to the pudding - could have something to do with the English proverb: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating".

This article was originally written in German by Thomas Wagner and appeared in an MD mag print publication and on their website:

The English version as published here was translated via Google Chrome.

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