Posts Tagged :

retail design


GUEST BLOG: How retail design can create experiences that connect with customers emotionally

Retailers who harness the power of emotion can better connect with their customers. Prosper’s Gareth James looks at why and explains ways to deliver an emotionally-rich shopping experience…

Research in the fields of neuroscience and behavioural economics is unveiling more about how we make decisions. Beyond logical reasoning, there’s something deeper at play on a subconscious emotional level.

An emotional experience is more impactful and memorable, so retailers who tap into their customers’ emotions are finding more resonance… and success. The next generation of shopper is increasingly buying more from brands they feel strong emotional connections to.

Experiences made for sharing

Today’s connected shopper often makes purchasing decisions based on opinions in their social network, so they crave something memorable and worth talking about. As do the influencers that people look to in their network for advice and opinions – such as bloggers and vloggers.

Emotionally-driven shopping experiences are powerful in inspiring people to fall in love with brands and become passionate advocates by sharing these experiences and driving valuable loyalty and sales.

An advantage for physical retailers

Meaningful emotional experiences engage all our senses and offer human interaction. Physical stores can go beyond showroom retailing to offer compelling ways to engage with customers emotionally and entice them away from online shopping and back onto the high street.

The growing trend for pop-up shops also offers the opportunity for experimentation with concepts and emotional experiences in physical spaces, to better connect with people.

So what retail design tactics can you use to build an emotionally powerful shopping experience?

Appeal to feelings

Ask how you want a customer to feel and how you can you appeal to their emotional motivators. Is it a desire to stand out from the crowd or to enjoy a sense of wellbeing, thrill or belonging?

Customers all like to feel unique and important. So the move towards more personalisation, with interactions tailored to a customer’s individual needs, will generate stronger feelings and emotional bonds with brands.

Tell stories

Humans are hardwired to love stories… they entertain, educate, help us escape and create memories. Stories also make you feel things so use storytelling to connect with customers.

Recount your brand’s rich history, express what you stand for, showcase provenance or convey future possibilities. Retailers like Lacoste and Dr Martens have museum-like features in their London flagships to recount the narrative of their brand.

Immerse all the senses

Sights, sounds, tastes, textures and smells all enhance an emotional experience. Glade’s Museum of Feelings, a pop-up sensory exhibit in New York, is a great example. Five scented rooms were designed to generate different feelings, to showcase the connection between scent and emotion for the air freshener brand.

Wellington boots brand Hunter creates an immersive experience by evoking wet-weather events and festivals in its London store, with audio and visual effects of heavy rain and thunderstorms.

Augmented reality (AR) also offers a wealth of opportunity to stimulate our senses and will become an important part of retail’s future as technology progresses.

Provide a sanctuary

As well as adding stimuli to excite, retailers can offer a calming sanctuary to escape to and linger. Leisure facilities within shops can aid relaxation and wellbeing, which leaves a positive emotion that is associated with the whole shopping experience.

Major retailers like Primark are acknowledging the importance of space and dwell time by offering coffee shops and customer seating that allow more relaxation in store. Elsewhere, Ted Baker now has coffee bars, barbers and beauty salons in their clothes stores.

Look to entertain

The human mind naturally craves intrigue and entertainment so encourage that sense of curiosity within a space. Inject theatricality with lighting, clever visual merchandising and interesting interior design. Or install an actual theatre to create a memorable experience, like Selfridges did last year.

Touchscreens and interactive features in store can turn a space into a kind of giant playground that encourages exploration.

Take fun seriously

Playfulness is a positive emotion to play on, that taps into powerful childhood memories.

Canadian apparel retailer Dish & Duer, have a ‘performance playground’ in their Vancouver store, with treehouse, hammock, monkey bars and swing.

On a practical level, shoppers can move around in garments to test how they suit an active lifestyle. However it also evokes fun and freedom from childhood, as well as the thrill of adventure! Those are all emotions we’d like to experience more.

If you would like to find out more about how Prosper works with retailers to create an emotionally-rich experience, please get in touch by email or call 01582 460990


GUEST BLOG: The new Lexicon Bracknell – A future blueprint for revitalising town centres

With Prosper as Lexicon’s Retail Design Delivery partner, Director Linda Tait previews this innovative new scheme ahead of its opening on 7th September to explain its success and significance for the future of retail…

Bracknell is the first post-war ‘New Town’ to be comprehensively demolished and rebuilt, making it one of the UK’s largest urban regeneration schemes. A key element in this ambitious project is the Lexicon, a £240m, 580,000ft² retail and leisure development revitalizing over 60% of Bracknell’s town centre.

Bracknell’s background

Until recently, Bracknell town centre was an ugly mass of Brutalist concrete from its 1950s origins as one of first post-war New Towns, built to house 25,000 residents.

While Bracknell’s catchment area soared to nearly 1 million people, its commercial centre remained in decline – the grey concrete a decaying eyesore that retailers and shoppers had deserted.

The Berkshire town lacked appealing retail and leisure to attract shoppers from the affluent surrounding areas.

Radical remodelling

To address this, the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership was formed – a collaboration between Bracknell Forest Council and investors Schroder UK Real Estate Fund and Legal & General Capital – who proposed a radical remodelling of the whole town.

The first phase delivered a new Waitrose supermarket in 2011, to assert the town’s potential to retailers and shoppers.

Knitting old with new

Much of the existing centre was then demolished to make way for 70 new shops and restaurants though some historical buildings were upgraded to knit cohesively into the new scheme.

The Bull Pub – a listed 14th century local landmark – has been restored and given a contemporary extension, to form the centrepiece of a new town square. The original high street also remains but with upgraded retail facias to fit Lexicon’s new theme.

Creating character and cohesion

The Lexicon’s layout forms a basic figure of 8 with linked blocks and key avenues, each having their own character. The blocks vary in colour and cladding style, a deliberate design feature to echo the character of a traditional high street.

Shared town assets such as lighting, green space and meeting areas – now largely under single ownership – also aid coherence and enhance the scheme.

Integrated yet individual

The individual units all feature highly glazed facades to bring a light, contemporary feel and coherence, yet still allow brands to express their individuality. Nando’s restaurant is a standout example, where layers of fretwork and greenery customise its facade and add brand personality.

This was an integral part of Prosper’s role delivering the Retail Design. Acting as ambassadors for the Lexicon, Prosper helped retailers to harmonise with the scheme while also delivering to their fullest potential. We also enabled good relationships between tenants and landlords, smoothing the approval process to ensure a good experience.

A lighter, greener feel

Overall Bracknell’s new aesthetic is much lighter and softer, contrasting the dense grey of its predecessor. Ample use of timber adds texture and a natural feel.

The concept of ‘bringing the forest to Bracknell’ is also key, with lots of greenery incorporated, including Europe’s largest green wall, plus nature inspired art showcasing the local flora and fauna.

Lighting solutions throughout add interest and ambience in the evening. On one wall of anchor retailer Fenwick, cut fretwork panels with lighting behind form a striking sculptural feature.

A day to night destination for all weathers

Being an open street scheme that’s not closed at night like a mall, there’s an authentic town centre feel that’s more pleasant to spend time in. This also helps to revive the town’s evening economy.

Just as there’s a trend to incorporate more dining and entertainment in traditional malls, leisure facilities are intrinsic here too. Eagle Lane is the main dining street, featuring popular restaurants such as Carluccio’s, Prezzo and Pizza Express with outdoor space for alfresco dining. The street leads to a 12-screen Cineworld, the only 4DX cinema in the Thames Valley.

To create a more all-weather destination, diamond-shaped glazing panels create elegant arcades covering some streets, while other units have high level canopies for shelter without enclosing the space.

More reasons to stay

Open public spaces are also crucial to create a thriving community, so each intersection has dwell areas featuring seating and soft landscaping. These can host exciting arts and entertainment events in the future to drive continued interest.

With the completion of the Lexicon this autumn, Bracknell now has a diverse mix of appealing retail and leisure, as well as services, some residential and communal spaces, to attract people back into their local centre.

A blueprint for future town centres

That’s why Lexicon Bracknell is an exemplar scheme and will prove significant in inspiring future ideas on revitalizing other town centres in a desolate state.

It goes well beyond the realms of retail, providing a more cohesive solution to breathe new life into tired towns.

If you’d like to find out more about Prosper’s Retail Design Delivery service and how they help landlords create thriving retail destinations by maintaining standards in their commercial centres, please get in touch via or by calling 01582 460990.