Today’s stores no longer just have to stand up to comparisons with other retailers on location, but are also in a global competition thanks to the Internet. Merchandise and products are available anytime and anywhere thanks to modern mobile devices. However, furnishings and design of a retail store are by no means irrelevant; customers still want an individual and pleasant shopping experience.
Even if many retailers are now also online, the store remains an important component in the marketing mix. Through store design and store furnishings, central marketing messages can be directly communicated to customers. In addition, they are indispensable to create unique incentives to buy that differ from those on the Internet and from other competitors. Especially the true, haptic aspect of product experience is a key advantage, bricks-and-mortar retailers are able to use.
Stores keep being redesigned
One consequence of the intense competition is the constantly shorter remodeling cycles. Companies rely on highly flexible and modular store construction systems to not miss the boat compared to the competition. This means, individual parts have to be completely compatible with already existing standard products, so that they can be used without difficulty and facilitate the renovation and remodeling of the store with as little time and effort as possible.
Store furnishings are also essential for communicating a continuous corporate identity (CI), because it ideally creates high brand recognition, which turns the brand into an experience for the customer.
The dilemma between standards and individuality
Retailers however, are faced with a big problem: how can you create your own brand individuality, if a high level of standardization for the furnishings is mandatory due to costs? Many emphasize addressing individual customer groups through individual accents even within highly standardized store concepts.
The technical capabilities are multifaceted: digital media such as flat screens, video screens and kiosk systems complement traditional merchandising methods. Particularly in lifestyle-oriented industry sectors like fashion, sports and furniture, stories can be told and themes staged that emotionally appeal to the customer. This way, brand and products are better remembered. Another advantage of digital technologies is that quick new decoration is possible for specific campaigns without major effort. It always provides new impressions and shopping incentives without having to radically having to remodel the stores.
When looking at the current developments, one thing becomes apparent: the power shifts from the retailer to the customer. The customer is no longer limited to the choices provided by a local special retailer, but consciously decides where he/she buys. Retailers have already responded to this. In many cases, via showrooms, flagship stores, temporary stores or vending machines, additional channels are being created that are also being accepted by customers.