Contract - November 2013 - (Page 62)
photography: courtesy oF mapos
Bricks Over Clicks:
Enhancing the In-Person Shopping
Experience by Design
by Caleb Mulvena
As online shopping becomes increasingly simple and more
convenient-and therefore more of a regular part of our
lives-what are the ramifications for the brick-and-mortar
store? How can retailers hold on to customers and attract new
ones, when clicking on the "add to cart" button is becoming
less of a hassle?
Integrating the brand is a large part of the solution, but it
is not limited to simply visual aspects such as color, graphics,
and aesthetics. Today, designers and their clients must dig
deeper and look at the values of the customer and brand
strategy, and how these elements can come together to
support the design of the space. Our job as designers involves
creating an authentic experience that is directly in line with
the brand and its values. I will explain how the keys to
offering an authentic retail experience are designed
according to psychographics and curating a lifestyle.
The psychology of design
One of the first things we must do when designing a store-
or any project for that matter-is understand the audience.
Who are the people the brand is trying to reach? What are
their values? What makes them tick? What communities
are they part of? We need to ask these questions, and then
take our findings and see how they line up with the brand
strategy. If we don't understand the customers, we are
shooting in the dark.
This is where psychographics come in. Unlike
demographics-which categorize groups based on age,
sex, income, and other factors-psychographics are the study
of values, attitudes, personalities, interests, and lifestyles.
A psychographics-based approach creates cultural groups
around shared values and aspirations, resulting in a common
language and usually shared experiences. This approach
yields a more relevant design that has potential to resonate
on a much deeper level than merely making a "cool" space.
The goal is to have each shopper feel like we are speaking
directly to them, in a cultural language they understand.
Quite often, clients come to us and already know their
audience. For example, with the luxury cosmetics brand
Fresh, the psychographics of its key customer base is a
shopper we call The Indulger. This person sees luxury
products as lavish and indulgent, is attracted to luxury for
the unique way it makes them feel, and will make purchases
based on emotive messaging. The design strategy for The
Indulger was our Kitchen Table feature: a centerpiece table
in the store where visitors are encouraged to spend time
touching, smelling, sampling, reading, and talking about
Fresh's latest offerings.
Working on a global level with Fresh, we adjusted the
design solution according to the market. The Kitchen Table
was first introduced in Fresh stores in the United States,
where there is a more open, exploratory approach to shopping
compared to some other parts of the world. In the Shanghai
location, every purchase is a direct result of consultation
with expert staff, so we changed the design from an open
table, at which shoppers can explore on their own, to a
lower consultation table, where guests sit across from staff
members for one-on-one consultations. This has proven to
be highly successful in this market, and while it appears to be
a different approach compared to the American design, it still
appeals to customers on the psychographic level identified
for the brand.
When implementing psychographics as part of the
design, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first is
that in some instances-especially with smaller, emerging
brands-the design team usually helps the client define its
core customer base through a series of in-depth work sessions.
When managing client expectations, it is important to note
that this is an iterative process with some back-and-forth,
rather than a clean, immediate solution. Also, multiple
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - November 2013
Contract - November 2013
Columnist: Implementing an Ownership Transition: I Built a Firm—So How Do I Get Out?
Highlights from HD Americas
Breakthrough Design at 100% Design in London
Product Focus: Beyond the Plank
Product Focus: Hands-On Shopping
U.N. North Delegates’ Lounge
Stuart Weitzman Milan Flagship
Marc Jacobs Beauty
Bricks Over Clicks: Enhancing the In-Person Shopping Experience by Design
Designers Select: Tables and Casegoods
Small Project: A Sales Gallery Previews Zaha Hadid’s 62-Story Condo Tower in Miami
Contract - November 2013