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John Ryan

Do the Homework and Your Shops will Thrive

Though most U.K. stores are closed, retailers are hard at work on evolving the in-store experience.




WHO’D BE A shopfitter in the current climate? Shops are closing, people are buying online and retailers are shutting their doors, at the moment, anyway.

Yet visiting one such organization just outside London this week, it was apparent that work was being done, virtually and physically. This must rather make the point that even although most U.K. shops (with the exception of grocers and essential — whatever this means — retailers) are closed, many are calling on the services of those who produce store equipment to get on with it.

Equally, speaking to a couple of those sitting on the other side of the fence (a.k.a. retailers), there is the sense that times may be tough, but that if nothing is done, when the good effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech jab begin to have a real effect, if retailers aren’t ready, things may yet get worse.

For this reason, to understand the shape of things to come later in 2021, it is instructive to talk to both shopfitters and retailers, even if there are no customers in the branches of the latter here in the U.K. In more “normal” times, this would be standard practice for those seeking to read the runes. At the moment, however, in a very different era, there are still pressing reasons for asking questions to understand what’s going on. And it all appears not to be about battening down the hatches.

So what should we take away from all of this? The assumption has to be that while physical retailers, the smart ones at least, will be benefiting from their online arms, the great majority of them also see physical as the way forward (egged on, of course, by large estates) later in the year.

The fact that there have been casualties during 2020 is obvious, but what will come out of this will be better stores than were there previously. Working, that is, on the assumption that the “homework” and hard graft is currently being done. Those that complete it will get top grades, but the effort will have to have been made.




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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