The reinvention of retail spaces
I love coffee. I know it's cheapest to order my own online and drink it at home, but I rarely do that. Instead I go to my favourite coffee shop (Baristas in Bristol) and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying my brew.
And for me online shopping for clothes is the same. Retailers offer me a simple and quick way to buy, but it doesn't appeal. As someone who has grown up loving textiles I just can't get excited by grids of of pixels, I want to touch fabric, check colours against my skin and find something I didn't know I was looking for.
However, physical retail spaces are expensive to run ,and so many are now sitting empty, with more threatening to close. Retailers need high footfall to pay for staff, rent and insurance. As a result, over recent years we’ve seen some brands in an almost endless state of sale, competing with eachother by offering discounts galore. For some this works, but this strategy doesn’t appeal to all customers.
So, how can High Street brands and independent retailers encourage their target customers to come in to stores and abandon the ease of shopping online?
INTRODUCE WORKSHOPS & EVENTS
Give customers a reason to come in to store by running workshops or events. West Elm in London are brilliant at this, offering brush lettering workshops, talks and demonstrations.
As part of Lil Collective I've customised purchases, illustrated shoppers and created eye catching murals in a range of retail environments and for a variety of brands, and they always attract new customers and create a buzz on social media.
There's a fantastic shop in Delhi Airport called Ishana. For me it's retail perfection. I'm lured in by the massages, the cafe, and the relaxing live music, and always leave with gifts for friends from the shop. Retail spaces benefit from being concept stores, with juice bars and dog grooming and manicures. Make your store a destination, where your target customer will want to spend time in with their friends and family. I do think that Anthropologie haven't yet added cafes to their stores as they know I would never leave....
RE-THINK YOUR SALE AREA
Anthropologie manage to make their sale areas feel like a secret Aladdin's cafe. Take their lead and don't make sale shopping a stressful experience, there's no need for red banners and cheap black plastic hangers anymore. Curate your sale area to make it appealing and a joy to shop.
DON’T BE LONDON OBSESSED
I get hired frequently to do live illustration at product launches and retail events. Ninety percent of this work is in London, where shoppers are already spoilt for choice. Try running some events in stores not in major cities and see great results and reignite brand loyalty.
INTRODUCE ASPIRATIONAL PRODUCT
I take so much enjoyment from seeing beautiful clothes. When I go to London I often head to Liberty to gaze at the latest Dries Van Noten collection. When I leave, I exit either through the stationery department or on to Carnaby Street via the fancy sweet shop. I'll always pick up something, a little bundle of notecards or a beautifully wrapped chocolate bar for my Mum's Christmas stocking, even though it's June. Basically, just because you know your customer wants to spend £20 don't only show them things that are worth £20. Introducing a special premium range of product grabs attention and makes your brand aspirational.
MAKE YOUR ONLINE SPACE MORE APPEALING
Think about ways in which you can make online shopping more personal too. For example can you give a bespoke handmade gift to the first fifty shoppers to buy something on pay day, or offer a free gift wrapping service with a hand-written name tag?
I hope this article has given you some ideas! Do get in touch via the contact page if you're interested in holding an event in your retail space and would like to work with an illustrator, or would like your window decorated as per the header image. For more examples of my live illustration work please head here.