Instore-innovation is totally on-trend, and definitely here to stay.

Instore-innovation is totally on-trend, and definitely here to stay.

Molly Forsyth

Molly Forsyth

molly.forsyth@nuttall.co.uk - Innovation - March 28 2022.

Our category is undoubtedly changing. As retailers recalibrate to accommodate changing consumer product preferences and purchasing methods, we’re putting a spotlight on how store interiors can support the fast-emerging innovations in our sector.

Creating Destinations

GAP recently announced that they would be re-emerging in UK retail as part of Next stores, having closed their own high street stores in 2021. Homebase is also hitting the headlines. Having shut down their own retail trading estate in 2018/19, the Group is now finding a new ‘home-base’ as a fully branded concession within retail giant Tesco.

We expect to see more news of similar moves as this particular evolution of shopper experience gains more traction. Shop-in-shop is absolutely here to stay, which is unsurprising when you consider that the concession model allows brands to dramatically increase their real-world reach, without shouldering the lion’s share of the overheads involved.

Our client ASDA is definitely riding the wave, after transforming two of its superstores into retail ‘destinations’ with 13 head-turning brands. ASDA’s Derby and Wigan stores provide homes to a diverse mix of brands, including fashion in the shape of Missguided and New Look, whilst also making the most of trends for healthy-living with Decathalon and My Protein, to name just a few.

Nuttall played our part, creating concessions for fresh and funky beauty brand RAWR at ASDA. RAWR goes a big step beyond stocking product, delivering manicures, beautiful brows and eyelash extensions in store. With this kind of this kind of engaging experience, ASDA is able to achieve much of the appeal of a department store in years gone by, but with a lively, modern and mainstream twist that plays squarely to convenience as well as ticking the box for quality.

Digitally Enhanced Experiences

By contrast, Sports Direct are amping up their experiential focus by creating zones for specific sports and activities within their retail spaces, to create breadth and depth of consumer appeal. Weaving in some gamification is a winning touch for total consumer engagement.

This is part of a strategy to become known as the ‘best sports store in the world.’ With more than 100 digital screens, a 3D hologram in the main entrance and a ‘heroes’ hub’ in the centre of their Oxford Street store, Sports Direct are definitely playing to win.

Selfie mirrors and PS5 consoles put the icing on the cake for outstanding shopper experience. And if you’re lucky, you might even bump into a professional athlete making a visit to the store to participate alongside customers, making shopping there truly memorable.

Shop and Go

Onto a different type of technology enhancement, Amazon was the first to really hit the headlines with truly frictionless shopping. One step on from contactless, the heavily tech-enabled Amazon concept of ‘Just Walk Out’ allows consumers to tap their credit card, fill their basket and simply walk out of the store. No check-out, no queueing and no cash for a super smooth and swift shopping experience. WHSmith recently introduced this same technology into their store within LaGuardia Airport, North America.

Moving consumers at pace is a key objective for travel shoppers – so this smart technology appears to be a very smart move for WHSmith. We’re interested to see whether this will trigger a more wide-scale roll out that might see ‘Just Walk Out’ more broadly adopted on our high streets.

From ‘Flagship’ to Roll-out

Retailers undoubtedly look to anticipate shopper needs and innovate ahead of the curve in their flagship stores, piloting concepts and creating headline-grabbing impact, with big, one-off budgets.

But winning ideas are ripe for conversion into mainstream formats – requiring a different mode of thinking and focus to put roll-out within reach.

Our team are on-point to support the development of both. With live prototyping for one-offs that are bang on brief, as well as meticulous planning and measured creation of formats for implementation at scale, Nuttall really is all you need for in-store retail innovation.

Whether its shop-in-shop, digitally-driven or created for convenience, our team will take a value engineered approach to the end-to-end delivery of each and every customer project. Post-prototype, we’ll be looking at scalability, modularisation and sustainability to bring down the total cost of ownership and ensure swift, efficient roll out.

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