Richard’s thoughts – Retail Design Expo ‘Retail Reset: The 17/18 Trendscape’


Retail, as we all know, is a landscape experiencing vast, exhilarating and often overwhelming levels of flux. This year’s Retail Design expo gave us a great opportunity to get some deeper insights into the different consumer mindsets and what we as a business should be thinking about on future projects.

A real highlight for me was the keynote talk by Katie Baron, Head of Retail at Stylus. Stylus is an innovation research and trends membership service that helps businesses process global consumer lifestyle, consumer product and consumer engagement insights, stimulating innovation and growth.

Baron’s talk ‘Retail Reset: The 17/18 Trendscape’ delved into the retail strategies that are required to respond to the four need-to-know emerging consumer mindsets. These included:

Transformation/Acceleration Economy – Where brands are now delivering more than just products but facilitating the consumers need for self improvement, for example Adidas’s Game plan A offers ‘Skill Drills’ and features article like ‘Create your own Luck: How an intern became a VP’ .

adidas gameplan A website screenshot

The Unifying Theatre of Speed – deals with our need for speed, an expectation driven by online and next day delivery and how retailers can make this part of the in-store experience. We loved how Yun Eyewear approached this by offering customized prescription glasses in 20 minutes, using clever store design and a well thought out consumer journey to help create theatre.

Yun Eyewear Laboratory

Trans Brands & Crossover Commerce spoke of brands joining together to create a cross pollination of ideas. This section looked at how brands are becoming fully omni-channel and giving consumers even more options to connect with a brands values, lifestyle and aesthetic but of course always giving the option to purchase.

American clothes brand ‘Marine Layer’ now has its own Marine Layer endorsed Airbnb rooms, conveniently situated next to their retail stores, to quote them ‘ imagine sleeping in a Marine Layer store, except with a bed and shower, and without clothes to purchase (although you’ll receive a sweet discount next door during your stay)’

Marine Layer

Fantasy, Risk & Exploration Catering to a Chameleonic Culture explores the consumers need for new and the options for spontaneity, Marni’s Milan Design Week installation titled ‘Playland’. Consisting of several different, sand-covered areas, separated only by the color of each section’s floor coat. Marni’s modern, high-fashion playground rendition sees the brand offering its distinct take on traditional playground equipment, as it encourages onlookers to create their own, elaborate fantasies as they visually interact with the installation. Alongside such equipment, the Marni Playland is said to contain certain interactive elements, such as purpose-made picnic blankets offered to those who wish to settle down on the sand in and around a selection of specially crafted label furniture.

marni playland milan design week

Baron’s summary and advice ‘aid self acceleration, make on demand memorable, embrace overlaps and brand disloyalty, fuel fantasy and create for update’.

At TRC we’ll be looking closely at how we can apply some of this thinking to our own projects over the coming year.

Richard McVetis
Visual Manager