It is becoming increasingly important for retailers to create visual experiences, but also to be able to transform them quickly and easily, because consumers are also shopping with their eyes.
Linda Hauch Fenger, Managing Director at Creation Group, is advising brick-and-mortar retailers not to let social media out of their sight, because influencers are now part of the market.
Ms. Hauch Fenger, which major trends do you see in visual merchandising?
Linda Hauch Fenger: We see that more and more of our clients are looking to present their products in themed environments in order to stand out and create unique brand experiences.
We also see that the visual experience changes during a year following events and holiday seasons – events and seasons that the stores and shopping centers can tap into and utilize to their benefit to draw customers in. If the retail industry is not changing the experience several times a year, the experience becomes “common”. The fact that nothing new is happening for customers to get involved in can lead to the industry becoming irrelevant. Our thematic “animatronics” help retailers to develop suitable theme worlds and individualize their stores thanks to the variety of clothing, accessories, and requisites. In this way, visual experiences can be created and changed quickly and easily.
What does a customer expect in visual merchandising?
They expect it to be spellbinding and engaging and most of all instagrammable. If a look is not photo friendly it is nearly impossible to get customers to a store and to share their stories and experiences online. Therefore, we believe that surprising and interesting backgrounds for photo points will become increasingly common in stores in the coming years. For example, retailers should think about a “selfie area” specifically designed to make customers take experience-based pictures for social media. These areas along with unique themed experiences are key in getting stores and shopping centres’ messages across.
It should be kept in mind that it has become very easy for customers to block information that they do not want to see, such as advertisements. That’s why theme-based experiences that are suitable for Instagram are a must, as they are “camouflaged” or the kind of advertising that customers want to deal with.
Is there a specific development you observe in the international retail marketing scene?
We see more and more brick-and-mortar stores using many different kinds of social media platforms in order to be able to reach their customers on their terms. We also see that their communication is much more personalized than it used to be and that influencers will matter more and more – but not in the sense that the influencer should be “the event” in retail, rather that they should be the communication channel to their followers about what is going on in stores and shopping malls e.g. posting videos of their family having a great experience while shopping.
Interview: Katja Laska
EuroShop editorial team