Kool Talks: Post-COVID store design
Blogs – Apr 28, 2021

Kool Talks: Post-COVID store design

Kool · The Retail Hub
Strategy, Equipment, Design
From Kool Hub we appreciate the incredible participation in our Kool Talks “Post-COVID retail design trends." The branding expert Ana Belén Castro, architect and director of Mostaza Design, was in charge of conducting this knowledge segment, acting as moderator in the contributions of: Rodrigo Pérez (Verdissimo), Sara Sempere (Sempere Mannequins) and Álvaro Cabrera (Kendu).

From left to right: Sara from Sempere, Alvaro from Kendu, Ana Belén from Mostaza Deisgn and Rodrigo from Verdíssimo.
If you were not able to participate in this live event, here is the video and the most important ideas that were discussed so you can go into detail about the latest trends in the design of commercial spaces. At Kool Hub we are not futurists, but our members and partners are true retail experts.
Ana Belén Castro started the Kool Talk analyzing the impact of the pandemic on the retail sector and offering some guidelines on which it can be reconstructed.

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For this expert, with more than 20 years of experience in retail branding, the sector is going through a very tough transitional period that has imposed a retail of minimums whose objective is to maintain commercial spaces and their work teams in operation. The pandemic took everyone by surprise, but even more so the retail environment, which was in a time of transition due to the emergence of omnichannel and the technological boom. With the confinement, delivery and low cost have gained more strength. Therefore, only true omnichannel retail will fill retail spaces again.

Castro also explained that COVID-19 has led to a global crisis of values on a social and cultural level, which has forever changed the shopping experience and the mentality of consumers themselves. After confinement, consumers are more responsible, ethical, and technological, but also more demanding. As a result, they are beginning to demand sustainable and safe products and commercial spaces that link them to their values. Similarly, they want new in-store experiences and personalized services that distinguish the physical experience from the virtual one or integrate both in the same space.

Both the eco-friendly factor and honesty were also very present in the presentation given by Rodrigo Pérez of Verdissimo on the company's mission to generate respect for nature in retail outlets. Verdissimo’s work is to introduce preserved, ecological, and natural plants and flowers in commercial and corporate spaces. They have designed a growing system specifically for this purpose, corporately minimizing the carbon footprint. To adjust to the climate crisis and positively transform the spaces in which they intervene, Verdissimo is committed to a long-lasting, adaptable product that helps minimize the impact of noise.

Along a similar line of thought, Sempere Mannequins believes that sustainability must reach a perfect balance to close the eco-sustainable circle. As Sara Sempere explained, we live in a world rich in waste but poor in resources. Therefore, at the corporate level, they are committed to the circular economy, whose objective is focused on reducing resources, recycling raw materials and reusing them for production.

Sempere applies this system to the manufacture of its mannequins and window dressing elements, using everything from recycled plastic to bottle caps. One of the strong points of their corporate mission is to recycle out-of-season mannequin models, which allows them to develop a local, zero-kilometer product, and to always partner with companies that share the values we want to defend and communicate.

Thirdly, Alvaro Cabrera, CEO of Kendu, argued that the future of retail as we know it is unlikely in two or three years' time, as its survival is played out in real time. From his point of view as a specialist in visual brand communication, a shift towards interactive design is taking place in the global market.

Cabrera warns that a false omnichannel model that generates “Frankenstein” stores where digital is present but not really integrated is no good. There must be a true omnichannel model where UX/UI user experience designers have the same decision-making power over the design of retail spaces as the architects themselves. Today’s consumer expectations and habits have changed radically with click and collect models and Apps. So retailers must do the same, thinking about how the consumer will interact with the space and the product.

This expert offered different outstanding examples of brands that are betting on the design of innovative shopping experiences that modify the relationship with the consumer: Adidas London with an app in which the customer chooses the clothes that will be taken to the fitting room so that they do not have to carry them in the store; Walmart, which has implemented an app to locate the consumer in its commercial locations and optimize the time they spend shopping; or Nike Paris, which has digitized all its corporate signage and labeling to improve its in-store customer service. In short, Cabrera believes that the client first concept must be updated, and adaptable stores must be developed where technology is part of the decision-making process.
If you are still hungry for more, stay tuned for more Kool Talks through our blog and social networks.
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