In-store design in the digital age


Michael Sheridan explains why it is more important than ever for brands and vendors to invest in their point of purchase environment

As the founder of a global retail design agency, I often hear that e-tail “must be a threat to your business”; the assumption being that everyone now buys beauty products online. Yet this perception is mistaken. The advent of the internet has, of course, had a profound effect on retailers, not only as an additional retail channel but as a catalyst for intensifying consumer demand. Fuelled by consumer appetite and freer distribution, shoppers in the beauty sector still want access to products in the physical space to make their choice. The physical space allows consumers to have interaction with products in a way that the online space can’t facilitate. Beauty product purchases can be driven by endorsements and great reviews, but unlike clothing, cannot so easily be exchanged. Consumers like to test, to feel, to smell, before they make that purchase. Of course, a customer may choose to start or finish (or indeed both) a transaction online, but the real physical space is still a major contributor to the consumer’s decision making process. Purchasing patterns may vary from sector to sector, but, for beauty, compelling the senses in an all-encompassing, immersive way is still a crucial part of this process.


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