December 21, 2018 / Retail Insight

2018 // What A Year!

2018: what a year! Culture has been the driving point for retail. This was most evident in the debut of Coal Drops Yard in London. Pop-ups have been popping up worldwide, and brands are more aware than ever that sustainable practices and personal connections are paramount to successful retail.

Design driven by empathetic engagement has become even more prolific. In our 2019 future forecasts, we explore why we will see this continue to permeate industries in the New Year. Retail is moving into the year of the human.

This type of empathy-driven engagement was paramount to our recent work with Douglas, where we developed a brand strategy that focused on intuitive discovery; and our on-going work with Morphe, to create an interactive environment that reflects their social media success.

What will we be taking into 2019?

“As the high street continues to change, retailers who bridge the gap between digital and real-world interactions will do well. While some offline shops are closing, other online brands are seeking a high-street presence, and those that combine online and the high street are doing well. Examples of retailers who have proved pioneering in these market conditions include Apple, Samsung and Tesla. Those retailers that work hardest to gather customer knowledge and put it to good use will be best placed to compete in the future. Ultimately we want many of the products we buy to be seen by others and there is no better reassurance than to be well advised in a public space with many other like-minded individuals around you.” – Michael Sheridan, Chairman and co-founder of Sheridan&Co

“People are becoming collectors and curators. Good design no longer simply means quality – although this is a key requirement, as less becomes the new luxury. It now means aesthetically pleasing, sustainable and ethical products, and brands must cater to these concerns to succeed in the year ahead. Good design filters into store experience, and consumers are looking for in-store education, good customer service, and a sense of welcome. People feel a need to belong – part of the amazing excitement of the partnership between Harvey Nichols and Fenty Beauty was that a whole tranche of new customers suddenly felt welcomed and catered for within a store that they had previously felt was ‘not for them’.” – Jules Sheridan, CEO and co-founder of Sheridan&Co

“Brands must open their minds to the fact that online transactions can be an opportunity in a retail context, rather than a threat. Online retail and technology help to free up both storage space and retail time, allowing stores to focus on creating personal connections and enhancing consumer experience. It’s an exciting time, and one in which brands can reclaim their space, and build their ‘cathedrals’. What experiences can you offer consumers in-store that they simply cannot get online? Look to create the Strategy behind a store to ensure that it regularly reaches “queue” status.” – Freddie Sheridan, director of Sheridan&Co

As we venture into the New Year, as always, we will be exploring with curious minds. It is this attribute that lays at the foundation of great design, and drives meaningful consumer journeys that inspire, delight and surprise. And leads to great results!