Shifting Customer Behaviours in Retail
Just how are brands directly adapting to the post-pandemic retail landscape? Insights from Leicester based design agency Office 12
CRMP was lucky enough to catch up with Daniel Gordon, Creative Director at Office12, Leicester design agency to hear his professional insights on the shift in consumer behaviour and its impact on retail spaces.
Read the below Snapshot Blog Post to gain current insights, directly from the retail design industry.
Who are O12?
O12 is a Leicester based retail design company. Having over ten years of experience in the industry, their design team are no stranger to the shifts and changes that have taken place over the years.
They realise that a physical retail environment can come in any shape or size. They endeavour to adapt to this ever-changing landscape.
Their purpose is to embed themselves into your brand and your objectives, redefining experiences built around strategies to ensure expectations are met, or better yet, exceeded by the consumer. Bringing brands to life in a physical environment, whatever form increases the potential for revenue growth and competitive advantage.
How are design agencies assisting brands navigate the shifting customer behaviours in retail?
For almost two years retailers faced COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, with e-commerce affecting consumer expectations and the role of physical stores and online channels.
However, the need for physical experience and immersive experience has increased substantially, with brands remerging post-pandemic.
Read on for Dan’s insights into Current Consumer & Retail Behaviours
CRMP: COVID19 affected how the world did businesses, from zoom meetings becoming our new meeting and team catch-up platform to hybrid working being the new norm. Companies had to adapt their models to work within the constraints, and for many – it has morphed into new business models. We’re curious to know how O12 adapted to the pandemic and how it changed your business outlook as you advance?
DG: As a culturally driven agency, full time remote working did impact the way we work, create and share ideas. Whilst it did pose challenges, it also presented opportunity, it allowed us to be more focussed on when and if we need to travel. It allowed us to focus on the processes and mechanics of working remotely.
As a business we took a democratic vote on how we work moving forward. A unanimous decision was taken to adopt a full-time hybrid model, working three days in the office and two days remote.
We now run efficiently and effectively with a hybrid model which benefits both employees and the business. Not only does it benefit the existing team but increases the geographical reach for future talent and partnerships.
CRMP: We’re almost one and a half years from the pandemic. As retail started to remerge and adapt, what, if any, trends and adaptations have O12 seen when dealing with new or existing brands wanting to re/enter the market?
DG: Brands want to engage with customers on a much more personal level. Having a greater focus on community, engagement, and interaction.
We have also seen a greater focus on creating a much more seamless and connected experience between the physical and digital worlds.
The pandemic has also made individuals and brands be more aware of their surroundings and the effects on the environment. Thus, resulting in having a greater emphasis on sustainability, not only in product but in physical retail spaces too.
CRMP: In your dealing with brands, have you gained insights on how shifting customer behaviours have led them to engage in these new retail adaptations? Could you perhaps share a few examples?
DG: We are seeing these shifts working with brands to explore new ways and places to engage with their communities. We have taken brands beyond traditional bricks and mortar and explored new retail spaces.
Some of the developments include events and music festivals, that provide a more relevant, engaging experience. Additional marketing elements like product giveaways have also proved to create greater brand connections and loyalty.
Customers also want more control of their experience; we have recently created pop-up retail activation spaces to educate customers on the correct sports bra for their size and sport.
This experience included a supporting measuring and selection app, that formed part of the in-store and out of store journey. This allowed customers to engage and purchase when and where they wanted to.
CRMP: Have you noticed any difference between how local (UK) and international brands have adapted to the post-pandemic retail landscape and their brand expansion plans?
DG: In the UK there was a significant slowing of new retailer openings. It appears that as retailers’ confidence began to increase, we could see more of a focus on creating spaces that offer unique brand experiences and moments.
Their aim is focused on creating something that cannot be achieved online.
With our clients in the far east, expansion plans have remained consistent throughout the pandemic. Subsequently, premium British and European brands have been capitalising on the growth of luxury retail within these markets.
CRMP: Do you have any insights or advice that you could share with new or existing brands who are looking to expand into physical retail in 2022?
DG: There is an increased focus on community building and local relevance with physical and digital platforms. My advice would be to shift focus onto connecting customers and brands. To foster a greater sense of purpose and brand loyalty.
Customers are seeking brands that are more environmentally aware and sustainable. This factor is a key consideration when creating a physical retail, not just for brands but for the entire creative industry.
Beyond this, we should consider how spaces can grow, evolve and flex in the future. To keep in mind and allow for spaces to live longer and continuously evolve with your brand.
Customer behaviours have shifted from a direct sales strategy to one more focused on experience.
Sustainability and value-adding for their communities.
With that in mind, take a look at some of O12’s recent work
Crocs #heretochange – Footlocker, London
As part of the growing popularly of the Crocs brand, O12 were presented with the opportunity to launch the brand across Foot Locker stores in London, Paris and Frankfurt.
Crocs introduced the campaign, #heretochange. The campaign heroes body positivity, leading with a local influencer that was relatable and aspirational to the Foot Locker demographic.
O12 created a series of supporting graphics, display areas and windows localised to that store and selected influencer. O12 strived further to create an urban aesthetic for the brand to exude Foot Locker’s street and sneaker head culture.
By combining raw materials such as scaffolding, beams and spray paint texture, Crocs seamlessly became part of the store.
Crocs Launch in Paris
Crocs launched in Citadium, Paris, a three-floor premium department store which appeals to a younger demographic. They wanted to create a branded space that would successfully appeal to Citadiums’ demographic.
To stand out amongst competitors, O12 created a space where customers could engage with the brand in a playful way.
O12 created a free-play grabber machine, providing customers with the chance to win a free Paris Pack Jibbit. Furthermore, Crocs wanted to celebrate the diversity of the brand. O12 delivered this element through a series of bright, colourful features and soft seating areas.
This element allowed customers to try on their Crocs in a brand-centic fashion. The Pop-up activation area successfully created a buzz, creating quess which surpassed the stores entrance.
Visit O12’s website to read more on their latest projects from the likes of Croc’s, Royal Copenhagen and Boo.
What can we draw from this?
The retail landscape is constantly changing and adapting to socio-economic influencers, this being the more apparent now than ever before.
It’s evident that consumers are looking for brands to be more socially aware and up-to-date with recent subcultures and movements.
Therefore, brands need to have a sustainable, transparent and circular supply chain and make their efforts known to their community.
In addition, the desire for more than just a space to buy clothing or lifestyle products is on the rise. Consumers are wanting experiential spaces that immerses them into the brand’s story.
Customers want to learn, experience and form a real connection with the brand.
If you’re a retail brand looking for help in translating your brand expression into a meaningful customer experience. Get in-touch with O12
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone number: 03448 012 012