Tag Archive for 'zara'

Retail Safari (part 3) – Zara Home

Zara Home is always worth a visit, just to take in the excellent visual merchandising. It just shows how simplicity can be so effective. There’s a few nice features around the store, particularly the staircase with chandelier and yellow lighting, I also like the tiling they’ve used on the cash desk and downstairs. It’s a very calm shop and always pretty busy whenever we’ve been there, the most amazing thing is the product value. You consistently pick up an object and are pleasantly surprised by the price. What looks like at least a £30 plus vase is selling for £6, proof again that you don’t have to put your product in a cheap environment to be a ‘value retailer’.

Zara Home - Visual merchandisingZara Home - visual merchandisingZara Home - ground floorZara Home - chandalierZara Home - visual merchandisingZara Home - fasciaZara Home - shoe displayZara Home - place settingsZara Home - cash deskZara Home - accessoriesZara Home - Regent Street windows

The product experience

As retail designers we’re always preaching that retail should be an experience, Peter Merholz from from Adaptive Path takes this further, telling us the product should be the experience. I’d go along with that and it takes a lot of effort and good thinking to do it. Is there anyone in the UK doing this, Apple of course, although I find their stores a bit clinical for my taste and possibly Habitat and Zara Home down Regent Street, Hamleys probably but in the mainstream UK high street I suspect this kind of thinking doesn’t exist, although I’m going to start looking out for it now.

The other message in this quick video is that all retail channels should be joined up, something which although seemingly obvious patently isn’t the case over here in many, many cases, mainly larger retailers are guilty of this as smaller businesses have less political posturing and devolve authority for marketing material (and budgets) to less people so there’s more chance of remaining consistent across their brand.

What’s Next?

As a retail designer – woman – and a customer, it is sad to see a retail giant like Next reduced to blaming the weather, fuel costs and warm weather for its slump in profits. Like M&S seven years ago Next has rested on its laurels and customers will only be faithful for so long. What was once the insecure shoppers dream, (most of us in truth particularly post children), with gondolas merchandised with a whole looks and beautiful visual story walls, what fantastic buying.

Customers no longer need to visit stores and if they are going to they want experience, they want retailers to provide more than a white or in the Next case grey box with stuff in it, reducing costs is not the answer it’s far more complex than that.

The key retail needs are trust-experience-quality on trend product and the ever elusive service.

Next needs a fundamental retailing review, it can no longer rely on tweaking a retail design scheme from 20 plus years ago – it is grey and dull with poor quality photography. When compared with M&S, Zara even John Lewis it has become the dull boring option. No longer to be relied on, customers need Next to supply an on trend look at a good price but also be a good place to go with friends and have fun shopping.

I really hope Mr Wolfson takes this opportunity to not only review the product but to look closely at the estate structure, the customers and not just the standard three names to represent age groups, but most of all the experience and be the first to drive the new High Street and the massive changes that are going to occur.

Obviously given the comparatively low growth in the catalogue and internet site caused by the lack of an experience and the time consuming navigation in both, visual and retailing review is necessary here to. The expensive beautiful cover is not enough when all customers get inside is one straight on photograph after another; a pool side shoot of a black work suit is not convincing particularly when you can not see the collar design when you zoom in. The basic retailing, cross-selling and range building for instance are just not there – its dull and hard work. The catalogue and to a greater extent the web are both naïve and dated in there design solutions.

What a fantastic opportunity for a profitable retailer to become a retail leader again – I look forward to it with anticipation and when the new unit in Meadowhall, Sheffield opens in July, will it be worth the trip?