Designing brand experience for shops and showrooms

Household Managing Director and Co-Founder Julie Oxberry discusses brand experience design for shops and showrooms with Retail Design World.

Showroom design is on the up as brands increasingly invest inventory-less, curated brand spaces that prioritise relationship building over transaction. As Julie explained to Retail Design World “exhibition-like showrooms carry less stock, if any, leaving more room for experiences or scene setting to hero individual products.”

Showrooms are the new direct-to-consumer norm. As digital native brands move online to offline, they are shifting away from legacy retailers’ product-on-shelf mentality. Julie describes showrooms as a disruptive force, “encouraging retailers to re-evaluate the role of bricks-and-mortar.”

Nevertheless, shops are still highly relevant to specific categories and customer needs. As Julie outlines, shops cater to “desire, choice, convenience and the instant gratification of walking away with a product there and then.”

For instance, project-based shopping like DIY, that requires advice and specific choices from a broad catalogue, greatly benefits from a shop format. We designed a new retail blueprint for Wickes with straight talking communications and an intuitive layout, that optimised the big box shopping experience to help customers get the job done.

Both shops and showrooms can be a disruptive force when brands invest in experience design. For shops, simplification is key to cut through to need-driven shoppers and take the hard work out of shopping.

That’s why we designed The Sleep Studio for The White Company. The Sleep Studio offers a sensory service experience that revolves around ‘touch’ and emotional response to a product, rather than focusing on thread count or technical specs. Customers have real-feel combinations to test and buy and can interact with oversized fabric swatch books that invite them to take four tests: Touch, Rest, Comfort and Wrap. The Wrap test lets customers literally wrap themselves in duvets to check size, weight, feel and ‘lovability’ factor.

Classroom retail is another key way to elevate experience in shops and showrooms alike. Classroom retail involves providing customers with product related skills and activities that elevate the physical retail experience. As Julie explains, c lassroom retail “drives loyalty and footfall, establishing a relationship with the customer and giving the brand an emotional benefit.”

We designed a classroom retail focused brand experience for Argos Home. We combined home decor themed craft workshops with local curators, from macramé to terrarium making classes, with curated, shoppable room sets that showcased the tangible quality of the Argos Home collection.


You can read the original article, ‘When is a shop not a shop?’ in Retail Design World.

And you can get in touch with Julie at [email protected] to discuss how Household can help elevate brand experience in your shop or showroom.

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