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Retail Design Expo 2015: Stores must adapt to channel agnostic shoppers says Dyson retail director

Retailers will need to evolve their physical stores to keep them relevant to “channel agnostic” shoppers, according to Chris Aubrey, global retail director at Dyson.

With one in five shops predicted to close by 2018, according to the Centre for Retail Research, retailers will need to create a better consumer experience to get closer to their shoppers and build customer loyalty says Aubrey.

Speaking at Retail Design Expo, he told delegates: “In the future there will be less but better physical retail on the high street. Retailers need to think about how to use stores to support customers to shop how they would like to shop.”

With more than 50% of online purchases being made on mobile, retailers need to think about how their physical space can support these sales. “Online and offline worlds are already blurred and indeed some brands agree that measuring profitability by a single sales channel is a waste of time now,” he says.

“This means we need to have a thorough understanding of customer expectations and how the physical store can meet those needs. Is your store format about providing expedience and convenience? Or, is it about realising that desire for the shopper to browse, but not necessarily buy on the day?”

Speaking alongside agency partner Kevin Gill, managing director at StartJG, Aubrey set out six key principles that guide their joint approach to retail design. Gill says one key design principle that retailers need to think about is to make their store “smart”.

“Make your stores as smart as websites,” says Gill. “When you log into Amazon, it knows who you are, what you’ve bought, and what your wish list is. It knows your preferences and makes targeted suggestions.

“When you walk into a physical store, you are pretty much anonymous. Use the store environment to create a single customer view,” he urges.