It’s a hard knock life

trolley-card-shoppingRetail is historically a tough industry and definitely not for the faint hearted.

The days of manufacturing down the road at a local production line, small deliveries, and storage out the back are long gone. Foot traffic isn’t as we know it, customer behaviour instore is all up the ‘wahoo’, and the full customer purchasing lifecycle is completely different.

Globalisation and access to anything and everything any time has made it a jungle out there.

Do it right and success is ‘probably’ imminent. So, I’d like to arm you with a few trends which I feel are no brainers for 2015 and should future proof your retail success story.

Before I start, I’m imploring you to get to know your customer – their demographic, behaviours, and psychographic. Ensure robust research is conducted so you know what makes them tick.

Secondly, a little tip is get to know Gen C. Why? Because these little Whipper Snappers could send us all into a spin if we’re not prepared. Born after 1990, these digital natives will be attending university and entering the workforce in the next 10 years.  Mark my words, they will change the world as we know it. Highly connected online, they will happily partake in social networks with several hundred contacts, consume and generate vast amounts of information.

In a nutshell, Generation C is about being connected and communicating,  and are content-centric, computerised, and community-oriented.

Once you know your customer and understand Gen C, you can get started on designing your store.

•     An online brand experience needs to be integrated and correlate to the physical store and transactional experience. It should also address the needs of multi-channel customers and reinforce the values of the brand

•    To genuinely connect with customers the store needs to be a destination. Lacklustre retail design won’t cut it anymore

•    A store is not just how it looks, it’s how the design enhances functionality, engagement, and participation

•    Simplify the purchasing process. Present complex things in a simple way, making your product easy to understand and relevant. It’s human nature to not want to ask questions, so tell a story with clever merchandising

•    Technology instore is a given now, but ensure it adds genuine value to the customer experience and also leads to a better understanding and knowledge of your products

•     Customers want to get creative and make their purchases personal. Whether this is creating their own ice cream flavours (thank you Magnum) or design their own shoes, it’s all about having a one off. This all creates a greater connection and affiliation with the brand

•    Create a community instore and make it a place that is warm, welcoming, and somewhere to ‘hang’ – Generation C will be putty in your hands.

So, there you go. The above trends are all in a nutshell but should be great thought-starters if you’re thinking about opening a retail store or re-branding.

Lizzi Hines is MD of Spaceworks. For more information, phone 0800 2 FIT OUT, or visit

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