In response to the Fair Game feature (DW 24 February), DIY retailers may be waking up to the importance of using design in-store, but design awareness is only half the story, and it is certainly not enough to simply jump on the female focus bandwagon.
Too often consumers are left confused or overwhelmed, not inspired. The new approach needs to be married with consumer insight. The softer, aspirational style of retailing needs to be combined with accompanying in-store communications.
Redesigning the interiors and product displays or even the products themselves is not sufficient on its own. An environment can be as ‘lifestyle’ or aspirational as you want, but it needs not only to be nicer to walk around or to lure you there, it must also help you make decisions. It should give consumers the information they need to complete the process and provide them with tangible benefits, in addition to the ‘wow’ factor.
Customers need to be informed and educated in a positive way that removes the confusion. The information itself needs to be aspirational.
Many DIY stores already feature cafÃ©s, this is nothing new. What is important is how they are applied. Done correctly, they can be powerful environments rather than just a distraction from being in a warehouse. They need to create the right atmosphere and be integrated into the wider purchasing environment.
This all requires a balance of consumer research, problem solving and ‘informed creativity’ to provide solutions that give all types of customers everything they want and need.
Creative directorBeswick DesignLuton LU2 7HY