Designers set to reap benefits of PoS revolution

As current economic challenges make attracting the eye of the consumer more pressing than ever, point-of-sale design is increasingly important. Next month, designers, retailers and marketers will gather to discuss the latest trends in point-of-sale marketing at the International PoS Congress, held on 4 March in Fulda, Germany.

Ibrahim Ibrahim, managing director of retail and interiors specialist Portland Design Associates, and a speaker at the conference, predicts that there will be a revolution in point-of-sale concepts in the next few years. He says new technology and increasingly individual shopping habits are set to transform the look and format of point-of-sale, creating new and exciting opportunities for designers.

As social networks become vital marketing tools, Ibrahim expects retail to turn on its head as brands become customer-specific rather than product-led. In what Ibrahim terms ‘fusion and blur’, the distinction between retail categories, such as fashion or food, will become hazy.

nstead of selling within one sector, shops will target specific social communities and fit their products to them. ‘Branding will be more important
Ian Caulder, creative director of Caulder Moore, predicts a stronger cohesion between the identities of physical and online stores within the next year. When his consultancy was tasked with designing the Web store, alongside the interiors and point-of-sale material, for London salon Michaeljohn last year, it was keen to create an Internet presence that mimicked Michaeljohn’s physical store. Digital versions of shelf blades and talkers roll by the bottom of the screen, catching the browser’s eye with special promotions.

But Ibrahim says this integration will soon be taken a step further. ‘The thing on everyone’s lips is augmented reality,’ he says. ‘Brands will be able to fully integrate their online and offline presence in-store.’New technology will enable customers to scan a product with their mobile phone and then access audio-visual product information streamed from the brand’s website. Ibrahim gives the example of Lego, which is working on packaging that presents a holographic image of the box’s contents made up into the final model when it is scanned. The customer can then buy the product through the online shop.

With fresh demands on packaging and an entirely new platform at the point-of-sale stage, designers will have a new playground to expand and strengthen brand identity. Interiors will also become even more important, as being in-store will become more experience-led than sales-led. ‘Shops will become showrooms,’ says Ibrahim, ‘and staff will be less sales people and more consultants.’

Design for Retail director Tim Howitt predicts that brands will begin to widen their customer base with pop-up retail experiences. When working with Clarins on its Stop! When You See Red! campaign, the consultancy designed temporary interiors for shopping centres where customers were treated to a free massage before they booked a treatment.

‘More and more point-of-sale “furniture” will be compact and easy to transport,’ Howitt says. ‘It will also be designed so that it can be re-established in different contexts.’

Ibrahim and Howitt agree that changes in retail will demand a more integrated design strategy, and brands will have to start thinking about packaging and store presentation in the concept stages. ‘Clients will have to do a lot more research and think about detail,’ Howitt says. ‘This can only be a good thing for designers.’

Key point-of-sale trends

  • Events-led retailing will demand eye-catching campaigns and more flexible and creative structures
  • Developments in augmented reality technology will demand more integrated branding between online and offline stores
  • More emphasis will be put on the environmental benefits of products, alongside a Greener approach to designing, manufacturing and transporting point-of-sale furniture

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