The Future of Retail is in Design

The 12th of April Martijn Frank Dirks was asked to present Studiomfd retail designs at the Retail Innovations Conference in Bratislava (Slovakia). He presented along side Ronny Max (Behavior Analytics Academy and Silicon Waves Agency) and Peter Tichý (Country Retail Commercial Project Manager for CZHUSK, IKEA) at the one day event in the Radisson Blu Carlton Hotel. Fortunately his talk ‘The Future of Retail is in Design’ was well received by the numerous participants. This interview was held prior to his presentation.

1. Main topic of Retail Innovations conference is "remodelling", the reconstruction and redesign of store to a new level.  This process is very popular in Slovakia these days, the retailers expect from it a rescue from decrease in revenues and performance.  Is this similar in Holland and West Europe?

M: As a designer today’s ‘New Renaissance’ is a highly interesting time. New technology evokes remodelling of existing products leading to new designs and redesigns such as self driving electric cars, which is great! As regards to retail the increase in online shopping and insight in consumer behaviour evoked e-commerce strategies and stores to transform to multiple purpose venues. These ‘stores’ aren't just about selling products. Whatever the purpose of new retail may be in the future, there are only three answers wether to enter a store yes or no: no, yes and yessssssssssssss! So if you ask me, when a new store isn't as attractive and appealing as a candy store, I doubt wether it will ever be really successful. The future of Retail is Retail Design. Yes we need the data, e-commerce strategies and great storytelling, but we should never forget the shopping power of great retail design.

2. How would you describe the ideal process of retail shop redesign / remodelling?

A. Choose and know your target group

B. Be creative in reflecting your (brand) identity (and keep on doing so)

C. Connect with your region and country of origin

D. Define a game plan

3. What in your opinion is most neglected by retailers in redesigning and remodelling projects? 

M: Region. Even within the same city, the way people shop, the shops themselves and their shopping area’s differ a lot between various neighbourhoods. So good retail design relates to region. I totally get it that all Nike stores look more or less the same, however if the Paris store would be just a bit more Paris-like and the one in Amsterdam a bit more Amsterdam, both in look and feel as in retail routing, they would blend much more with the city, its culture and its citizens.

4. In our region, we see that remodelling usually starts and ends with replacement of furniture, new signage and colors, why do you think this is so? 

M: These are the first things one might think of, a quite practical and short-term solution actually. For me it all starts with a thought-through concept design and plan following the above a,b,c and d.

5. Please tell us, what do you plan to present at the Retail innovations conference, what can our participants expect?

M: The great importance of retail design, from tiny shop in shop design, and specialised retail shop design to cultural event stores.

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