The Element of SURPRISE

The world of retail has changed for this nation of Shopkeepers, so how do store owners get customers through the door? by Gaynor Edwards

Liverpool Shop Interior  Tonik Retail

it’s unlikely the high street will ever be the retail hotspot it once was. Shopping is still considered a leisure pursuit – but browsing now happens online, not requiring the customer to move from their sofa. The question is just how does the retailer attract passing trade; how do they draw people in?

Today’s most exciting stores are all about ‘the experience’.

Tonik Retail Penguin Store Interior

The Penguin Store

The job of the retailer is now to stimulate all senses. Commercial interior designers like Tonik can help them to deliver something different. Working with the brand and mindful of the store’s ideal customer, they ensure the customer feels immediately stimulated yet reassured upon entering the shop.

“Today’s most exciting stores are all about ‘the experience’

“The customer’s first thought should be – ‘Wow! This is my kind of store!’” explains Tonik. “The devil’s in the detail and today’s design now has to accommodate technology whilst conveying brand personality and even humour. In the handbag section of River Island we hung several elaborate chandeliers – figuring the handbag connoisseur is generally a chandelier lover!

“The Original Penguin store (another Tonik project) celebrated the era of the original Penguin Classics paperbacks. This nod to the 1950s allowed us to use vintage furniture as part of the display.”

Liverpool Store Interior Tonik Retail
Having gotten the customer through the door, what keeps them in there and ultimately gets them to the till point? Apart from customer service, interactivity can help. As can creating an interesting and comfortable space where the customer is happy to spend their time and, hopefully, their money.

IT interactivity may include iBeacons directing the customer around the store, or iPads suggesting complementary products, for example. All need to be integrated sensitively or surprisingly into the overall shop setting.

Not all interactivity needs to be technologically advanced. Inviting people to open cupboards or just having tester products displayed creatively is often enough. Invitations always get a good reception, Alice In Wonderland style.

The more you engage with the customer, the longer they spend in-store and the greater the chance of a sale. People like to feel special and to be surprised. Depending on the market, exclusivity scores big points – perhaps creating the showroom or gallery space of beautiful things to view by appointment only.

When retail and merchandising is effective in design of space, lighting and colour it can work wonders. Customers buy into this and want to take a little magic home with them.

208 Bermondsey Street
t: 020 7378 9670

Penguin Store Interactivity Jukebox Tonik Retail

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