Kicking off this year’s International Retail Design Conference, keynote speaker Chip Conley talked about creating peak moments, or “moments when you feel like you’re in the right place.”
In his case, he was referring to the chain of boutique hotels he’s created through Joie de Vivre Hospitality. But the message could also be applied to those in attendance at this year’s three-day conference, as IRDC offered the right moments for inspiration, creativity and networking during breakout sessions, roundtable lunches, the Iron Merchant visual challenge and, of course, the IRDC party.
During his kickoff discussion, Conley offered ideas on ways to mind-read your customers to go beyond their expectations. “Offer your customers something of real value that they hadn’t even imagined,” he said, citing such retailers as Anthropologie, Whole Foods and Apple as those that excel at meeting customers’ unrecognized needs.
Held in San Francisco at the Parc 55 hotel, IRDC sessions also covered retail archetypes, airport retail, designing for the millennial shoppers, in-store technology, European retail trends and ideas on growing your brand smaller.
Closing keynote speaker Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach and most recently PUBLIC bikes, talked about adapting to the new retail paradigm and becoming an antidote to the online, discount frenzy. “Encourage people to engage differently,” he said. “Create meaningful customer experiences.”
Here, VMSD provides a photo overview of this year’s successful event. Look for an in-depth review of IRDC in the November issue.
All photos by Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.