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The pursuit of retail wonder

I am old enough to remember wandering into 'Biba' on London's Kensington High Street, as a teenager with a sense of awe and wonder, enjoying this highly imaginative shopping experience and still missing its touch of magic today!

So it was with interest that I came across the thought leadership from the global design agency, Sheridan & Co, discussing why retail must embrace 'wonderment' in 2018.

Last year the company documented how retail could be a platform to foster empathy, community and creativity, but this year it says the idea of 'wonder' has been fuelling its creative thoughts.

The agency may not be wrong as news is spreading that shoppers want experiences from retail trips to inspire them to buy online when they go home.

Sheridan & Co which has carried out retail projects for Selfridges and Harvey Nichols, says the concept of 'wonder' is caused by something ' beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar'. In fact it gives its tips for retailers to create a winning edge:

1) consider the emotive responses that wonder inspires and how this can translate into meaningful storytelling

2) consider how the role of play within brand experiences in store can motivate moments of awe and surprise through discovery

3) trade on curiosity - how can your brand experience empower knowledge hungry consumers on a quest for creativity?

Although some stores are attempting to cut back on their rents because of poor trading over Christmas, other retail brands are expanding. Dr Martens, for instance, is using video and stage performance to interest customers and if Sheridan & Co's creative imagination is allowed to fly, who knows where the future of retail will take us.

Future Cities Forum discusses retail innovation at RIBA, London on 25th January 2018.

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