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March 13, 2015

Future of retail looks bright again!

Following the baby show a couple of weeks ago, we were amongst the national and international crowds flocking to Olympia in London for the first time event, Retail Design Expo 2015.

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With global retail estimated to reach £16.5 trillion in 2020 (source: Planet Retail), we anticipated a day packed with great new insights, innovations and trends from industry thought leaders, retailers, marketers and designers… and we were not disappointed!

The online vs offline discussions continue to rage and it’s safe to say that both sides have their play. Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed online spending in the UK has increased by 13.4% compared to the same time last year. Phones and tablets are now used for nearly 6% of all retail sales according to e-tail industry body IMRG, with sales via mobile devices doubling to £3bn. This leads to everybody talking about omni-channel retail and how to integrate the customer experience. Great news is that everyone at the show seemed to agree: to stand out, bricks and mortar stores need to converge retail and leisure to sell real experience that is intuitive, inspired and connected with the shopper.

Above: Urban outfitters LA and Amsterdam

Impressed by the array of engaging presentations and panel discussions injecting life into the big question of ‘What is the future of retail?’ featured speakers included Martin Raymond and Jo Tulej from The Future Laboratory, head of store design at O2 Simon Bentley, David Dalziel and Ross Phillips of design group Dalziel & Pow, Katie Greenyer creative director of Pentland Group and many more.

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Exceptionally refreshing insights and case studies came from two panels presenting and discussing innovative retail that creates new customer experiences by redefining markets and pop-ups to create opportunities for new store formats and experimental designs for established and emerging brands. It is estimated that these initiatives have helped contribute £2.1 billion to the UK economy. With a very entrepreneurial spirit, speakers included Roger Wade founder and CEO of Boxpark, Ross Bailey founder and chief executive of Appear Here, Rupert Pick founder of Hot Pickle, David Martin managing director of M Worldwide and Andrew Sparrow head of commercial operations Old Spitalfields market, town & country markets.

Above: Pop up Magnum and Marmite in London, Spitalfields vintage market and Propercorn

I left Retail Design Expo feeling very upbeat about the opportunities ‘the store of the future’ will bring to all of us – at the end of the day, we all are shoppers! Whatever the future will look like in 2025 one thing is for sure: retailers, brand owners, marketers and designers will understand customers in a way that right now we all can only dream about. We are in an exciting period of change and if we find ways to truly collaborate, the future of retail will be bright, fun, engaging and hopefully thriving.

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Photo credit: Boxpark market place in Shoreditch, London Boxpark

Photo credits:

Retail Design Expo
Urban Outfitters
Future of Retail and Shopping apps
Magnum London Pop-Up Shop
Marmite Pop-Up Shop London
Old Spitalfields Market and Old Spitalfields Vintage Market
Proper Corn

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