Create an effective and engaging optical environment
Who is Retail Experience Design? What makes your offer unique?
We are a creative retail design agency – that means we design engaging and original spaces and physical environments for retailers or businesses that sell products, services or experiences.
We provide a full design service from initial concepts through to manufacturing and store layout management.
What are some of the most recent projects you’ve worked on and what sets these clients’ designs apart?
A successful design agency needs experience across a wide range of industries – it’s what keeps them creative, informed and responsive to the ever-changing world of retail design. Our wide range of experience has been critical to our success and spans a wide range of industries including retail, food, salons, clinics, workplaces, showrooms and educational spaces .
But we are exceptionally proud of our work and our specialization in the health and wellness sectors, and no more so than in the optical industry, which has grown organically and through stories. of success. I believe it is our ability to combine creative design with a strategic understanding of what opticians have to offer from a customer and patient perspective that sets us apart.
Our recent projects for Fullwood Opticians, House of Hearing, Noville Opticians and exclusive salon and hair business Vixen & Blush are great examples of the diversity of our work and the different design challenges presented to us.
With House of Hearing, our challenge was to transform a Grade A listed building into a new flagship audiology clinic, without the indulgence of a restoration project budget. For this reason, we worked with the existing architecture and features of the building to make the budget work harder and further. Through clever design, we were able to conceal building imperfections and inherent structural issues, while creating a world-class interior design for an audiology environment.
For Norville opticians, it was crucial that we maintain the legacy of the historical practice, while offering a unique concept. The final concept is not only aesthetically advanced, the new design allows the cabinet environment to be retail-practical and significantly improves space efficiency, while improving the overall journey of the patient. Our brief for Fullwood Opticians was design-driven – the practice aspired to transform the space from a tired, traditional practice into a boutique-inspired space that provided customers with a fashion-driven experience.
Finally, our design for the Vixen & Blush hair salon has achieved a striking contemporary space that firmly positions Vixen & Blush at the forefront of exclusivity.
Retail Experience Design
What is the key achievement that the company has celebrated in the past year?
The pandemic has hit the retail design industry hard. Sadly, we’ve seen iconic store closures, brands shrink, and all kinds of retailers and businesses scale back. But at the start of 2021, amid the turmoil of another lockdown, retailers and businesses regained confidence. The narrative began to shift from uncertainty and fragility to transformation and innovation. Ultimately, companies wanted to be in the strongest possible position coming out of lockdown.
This was especially true in the optical industry, which of course remained mostly open during the lockdowns. While some opticians in town struggled to survive, we saw local opticians enjoying a local resurgence. With this change, many opticians realized the opportunity to attract audiences and in doing so recognized that to have the best chance of winning potential new clients and patients, they needed to ensure that their practice appealed to different and broader demographics compared to the pre-pandemic period. , as well as stand out from their competitors.
Given this local resurgence and with retail more determined than ever, 2021 was our most successful year yet. We won a record number of clients and delivered our highest number of projects ever, across all industries.
What are the company’s main ambitions for the next 12 months?
When I launched Retail Experience Design and we started working in the optical sector, it was clear that the industry was lagging behind traditional retail.
The industry was primarily driven by traditional store layouts, which often resulted in generic, traditional, off-the-shelf designs with little or no regard for retail design principles. Early on, we identified that the potential to help this industry move forward was wide open for the right design agency.
Fast forward 10 years with a completely different retail landscape. Opticians now understand that their physical environment is the key to differentiating themselves from their competitors, creating a unique patient experience and building customer loyalty.
Our approach and designs in the optical industry have stood out – and today we are recognized for our expertise in providing optical environments that not only look good, but perform well.
We believe we have helped the industry understand the importance and impact of good retail design. Our ambition for the next 12 months will be to continue to push the boundaries of creative retail design within the optical industry and further solidify our position as the leading retail design agency in the field of optics.
Retail Experience Design
Are there any new projects in development that you can tell us about, or updates as a company that you would like to share with readers?
My ambition as a retail designer and the concept behind starting Retail Experience Design was to make good retail design possible for freelancers and multiples. I wanted the creative freedom to personally make a difference in High Street retail.
My commitment and ambition to work with freelancers remains, the design agency is structured to balance profitability, but without compromising on good design – making good retail design possible for freelancers.
However, our work is recognized by top brands and retailers, who contact us because they have seen our work, particularly in the optical and wider healthcare sectors. I think it speaks to our design philosophy, our creative ability and our strategic approach to POS design.
What do you think will be the top retail design trends in 2022 (either broadly high street or specific to healthcare settings like optometry)?
Sustainability: It’s the hot topic of retail design, as consumers are no longer just attracted to sustainable products – they want to buy from retailers and companies that show their approach to sustainability and respect for environmental issues in their physical stores. .
The physical experience: While the growth of online shopping has of course exploded due to the pandemic, some consumers’ desire to see, touch and physically interact with products has now been amplified – even the most basic in-store experience. was missed. Consumers want to escape their screens and have an in-store experience – it’s this desire that brings consumers back to brick-and-mortar retail.
So, creating a positive, memorable and unique in-store experience has never been more important for businesses with a physical environment.
A love of the local: Many consumers have continued their mission to support local or independent small businesses, and although the High Street is undeniably flimsy and looks very different across the UK, the deep-rooted affection for local shopping continues to be a priority for the retail trade.
How do you think effective design can help practices retain patients and increase revenue?
There is no secret formula for optical detail design. Creating an effective optical environment is achieved by applying the fundamental principles of good retail design. Regardless of practice size, location, audience, demographics, services, product lines, the principles remain the same.
We combine strategic, creative and technical skills to ensure retail spaces deliver on multiple levels. These include: achieving an attractive interior design, retail convenience, creating a unique customer experience, all with the aim of helping opticians build customer loyalty, sell more and ultimately increase their profitability.