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Retail Unplugged
19 August 2016

Woven StructuresExperiential Coffee

Retail Unplugged

There’s a lot of talk about the omni-channel experience and the integration of the digital and the physical store. It sounds like we should all be focusing on stores becoming some kind of massive walk-in digital experience.

Digital technology allows us to fine tune replenishment, eliminate stock rooms and use the endless aisle to deliver anything our customer needs but we don’t have room for. Online leviathans like Amazon see the bricks and mortar opportunity. They are now building physical stores and using their data mines to accurately position them and select what they stock by location. But the stores themselves look like conventional bookstores. That’s a real lost opportunity.

Given that stores now need to carry less stock this leaves lots of room to play. Customers don’t need more screens. They already have enough screens at work and at home. All the information they need is literally in their pockets. What they expect from us is creativity and fun. The best retail experiences are fun, product focused and mostly unplugged. They are highly creative, low maintenance, dynamic and low cost.

Unplugged engagement can take the form of out-there architecture, ultra creative product display, the use of taste and smell. Even the simple act of making coffee can be turned into a performance. It’s a world of ideas, not pixels. Eataly has a prosciutto ceiling. Hermes creates giant woven structures in a re-used swimming pool. Coffee Academics mix art and science to become the da Vinci of coffee. It’s a wealth of creativity. And it gets noticed.

It’s still all supported by a digital platform. And your customers will spread the word digitally. But the best way to create those Instagram moments is to go unplugged. 

Gary McCartney is the owner of McCartney Design.

Integrated design- beautifully simple!

19 August 2016
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