Sunday, February 25, 2024

‘Authenticity, Curation & Personalisation will be the differentiators’

By Retail4Growth Bureau | January 25, 2024

Mithila Kumar, CEO of Restore Design, shares her take on the trends that will differentiate retail this year in this exclusive column for Retail4Growth.

Mithila Kumar

2024 is shaping up to be a year of growth and expansion for the Retail Industry. Across categories, brands of all sizes – from early-stage start-ups to established houses of brands, have big and bold strategies to grow their footprint and establish a strong presence across markets. This year it is quite clear that offline retail is the decided route to growth and customer acquisition. The retail identity and in-store experience has to work hard to create impact and to help brands stand out in the crowd.

At Restore Design we have been busy crafting Retail Identities for brands that are set to hit the market this year and we cannot wait to see the response. As we worked through the designs of each one, we’ve carefully considered every customer touchpoint and questioned what customers are expecting out of their store visits and shopping expeditions. What do customers really respond to? What determines their final purchase decisions and what motivates them to keep coming back for more? Here are a few differentiators that we believe hold the key to winning hearts and wallets.

Authenticity - Consumers care more about what goes in to their products and want to make more informed choices. They want to see brands communicate who they are in an authentic way and can sense if anything feels misleading or not quite true. Loyalty can only be built when the retail experience is an honest representation of the brands’ values. Especially in the world of digital commerce where a lot is communicated online, it is most important that the in-store experience sets the tone, communicates the brand’s ethos and immerses the customer in the brand's worldview.

mage: Aukera - Grown Diamonds, A woman-first brand and the ethical choice for diamond jewellery, by Restore Design, 2023

Image: House of Masaba,  A brand rooted in Indian craft with an element of quirk and personality by Restore Design, 2023

Curation – With a multitude of choices and consumers attention spans stretched to the limit, people appreciate when brands guide them towards making the right choices for themselves. Showcasing curated styles, capsule collections or pop-up formats are a great way to help customers narrow in quickly to find the best of the best or coolest products that fit the occasion. Hot spot displays with shoppable looks, paired with the relevant merchandise racks right next to them, help customers make up their minds and create the nudge to immediately try and buy. 

Image: Flying Machine, "What's hot?" capsule, by Restore Design, 2023

Image: Arrow, Ceremonial capsule, by Restore Design, 2023

Personalisation – Customers are more likely to become believers and keep coming back for more when they know that a brand can deliver what’s exactly right for them. An in-store experience that allows the time and space to explore, try and find the exactly right product, fit, colour, texture is important. Generous trial rooms, consultation bars, customization zones and other similar touchpoints allow the customer to get up close with products, experiment and make them their own. They are surely going to come back for their perfect shade of lip colour or to add to their collection of sneaker patches.  

Image: Beauty & Beyond, Beauty Bar for customers to discover their personal choices, by Restore Design, 2023

Creating an emotional connect and deepening relationships with customers is the way ahead. The retail store design sets the context and creates space for sparking connections, engaging in conversations and nurturing the bond between brand and believer. 



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