On 1 March three companies dedicated to technology and designing customer experiences in-stores visited London College of Fashion for a panel discussion. Avenue Imperial, Engage London and Checkland Kindleysides; each one specialising in different fields but the three of them with one thing in common which was their passion to redefine and revolutionise retail.
Avenue Imperial is a company dedicated to transform physical spaces (stores) into shoppable platforms online. It provides consumers access to the world’s most iconic stores, permitting them to buy in a virtual 360° recreation of any store, from anywhere in the world. Users then can share their experience with friends using a social sharing network; they have access to the online store 24/7 to buy directly from the virtual platform with the help of an in-store assistant that will guide them and support consumers through its entire shopping journey. The system gives customers the ability to shop from real stores via an online interface; “we see this as the 3rd way of shopping” mentioned Erika Loch from Imperial Avenue.
Engage LDN is a company that goes from consultation and design, to build, integration and support. Chris Mitchell, our panel guest from Engage, mentioned that there is a shift towards emotive economy (emotion based), brands now have to look at experiences as a new way to attract and engage consumers and to surprise them with technology. He also mentioned that engaging plus touching increases chances for conversion into sales, and that is imperative the use of technology in order to create efficiencies in space and time.
Our last panel guest was Kate from Checkland Kindleysides, a global design agency specialising in the art of brand storytelling. The company is dedicated to craft digital, graphic and 3 dimensional thinking, to create brand experiences that deliver extraordinary value. Kate described the process, which starts with understanding the brand and the consumer to be able to deliver the perfect experience for each specific need. The creative team then comes up with a creative vision, which they call “the dream”, and then they create a concept design, which can be executed into a physical space.
Each of these companies have its specific field, but all described the importance of delivering the factor of surprise to the new generation of consumers that are used to have everything only a click away. All of them agreed that new generations are not easily surprised, and that in order to achieve this brands now have to deliver amazing, innovative retail spaces and experiences.
by Marisol Jimenez Sanchez, MA Fashion Retail Management