What do you think 2019 will hold for retail design?
Retail in 2019 is going to bring up loads of exciting challenges and possibilities for designers. Firstly, established high street retailers are going to need to evolve their offers to meet the rapidly changing expectations of modern consumers, who are ever-increasingly looking for brand showroom and experiential physical retail experiences that acknowledge online is where more and more people buy products. Ultimately, the research shows that younger audiences are not abandoning physical retail, but are actually in favour of it.
Meanwhile, challenger brands are having a clear run at things, offering an omni-channel approach right from the start and creating interiors concepts that more traditional retailers might be too afraid to pursue. This means a more integrated approach to design is absolutely becoming essential for success in retail.
What was your favourite retail design project in 2018 and why?
Coal Drops Yard is a masterclass in modern retailing, with new and exciting things to see and do, alongside a regular programme of events that are educating as much as they are entertaining. This development is a great example of retail’s new purpose: the various boutiques, workshops, restaurants and bars that make up Coal Drops Yard aren’t just places to buy things, they’re tangible brand experiences.
As a food-led design studio, Coal Drops Yard is a prime example of what retail could be, somewhere for people to gather, eat, drink, be entertained and perhaps learn something along the way.