International Retail Design Conference Round-up

We just got back to the office with fresh knowledge and inspiration from the International Retail Design Conference, held in Montreal, Canada. The conference was three days of idea sharing and relationship building among the brightest minds in retail, all looking to deliver a better customer experience. 

Below are a few of our key takeaways from the event. 

1. Organizational silos prevent success

In our whitepaper titled, Unbox retail with an Open, Modular Platform”, we discuss how retail ecosystems are complex and often full of siloed databases. A disconnected system prevents retailers from delivering a truly connected omnichannel experience. To solve their problem, retailers have to first break down the organizational silos.

Leah Cotterman, Senior Strategist at Chute Gerdeman, shared her knowledge about how to bring silos down. One of the tools she introduced to align creative goals with business goals was simple but effective, using creative brief as a form of contract. Creative brief 2.0 can help back any new creative initiatives with a real return on investment. Getting SMART goals and business background, such as key financials, brand definition, scope, product positioning, competitive landscape perspective in the brief helped set clear expectations and gives context about the job. Teams can be more strategic and at the same time have a KPI as a baseline to measure the success of the project.

2. Integrate technology into the store concept

In the retail design sessions, Eric Feigenbaum, Founder, Embrace Design and Editorial Advisor/​New York Editor, VMSD stressed that retail’s biggest challenge today is not technology, it’s how we respond to technology. Technology has to be strategically curated and seamlessly integrated into the store concept. The focus should be the overall experience. Technology is just an enablement of those amazing seamless shopping experiences.

3. Location and staffing is everything

The concept of pop-up stores has been on the retail landscape for over 10 years and is still aggressively growing. Boosting brand awareness, increasing web traffic and sales are just some of the benefits for brands if executed correctly.

Melissa Gonzalez, Chief Pop-Up Architect, The Lionesque Group and the author of The Pop-Up Paradigm’, shared the following key success factors for opening pop-up shops.

  • Set clear goals and take the time to plan. What story are you trying to tell, what are your goals and how do you want to achieve them?
  • Develop a clear story line and an easy call to action. This will help grab the customer’s attention and boost brand engagement.
  • Location really matters. Just because a location is cheap, it doesn’t mean you should jump on the opportunity to have a pop-up store. If the location doesn’t drive the right kind of traffic, you’ll just waste your money.
  • Merchandising and marketing. Both teams need to work hand in hand to launch a powerful and effective campaign with a successful return on investment.
  • Invest in staffing. Your staff is a very important touch point of your brand. With a temporary store, you may not have the opportunity to make a second impression. Invest in your staff and make sure they can represent your brand well.

Are siloed databases and poorly integrated systems slowing your business growth? Our whitepaper titled, Unbox Retail with an Open Modular Platform’ covers four best practices for system optimization.