President's Column

Retail Design: About Direct Experience

  Author: Dr.  Peter Zec|2019-3-27

Technology has fundamentally changed the way of purchase.Twenty years ago, regional retailers or shopping centers provided the majority of commodities. Now, they can all be found online. Therefore, to meet the need of consumers, businesses are developing the digital management from displaying a variety of commodities online, fast delivering, cloud computing to mastering the weapon of digital age. It changes the relationship between businesses and consumers. While people gradually lose interests in interacting with others,they are gravitated to engage with machines. The experience of shopping became dehumanized. People purchase products online without trial and even without touching them. Consequently, what is urgently needed in the digital age is direct experience. 


Award: Red Dot Award for Product Design 2018

Despite the countless advantages of Internet, major brands and companies are seeking ways to provide products that can be touched and visualized, strengthening the existing connections while establishing new ones. In a fast changing world, interactional design possesses greater potential and flexibility. For a company, the quality of product is the most important. However, in retail competitions, interactional products can standout in the array of sameness and attract customers in increasing their loyalty to the brand. The best example of extending purchasing experience is the Trial Zone of Nike in Taipei flagship stores which won itself the Red Dot Awards.This design enables customers try the shoes out in a virtual context. Customers can do a series of challenging basketball moves with the guide of motion sensors and reflections on the floor. This is not the first attempt Nike madein connecting with consumers. Nike is specialized in flash stores to catch people’s eyes and consequently increase their interests in its products.


    Trial Zone

Design: Taiwan(China)Heyshow Company Ltd.

W. Space Brand Image Store

Design: Wotancraft

Award:Red Dot Award for Product Design 2016

Another obvious change for local retail stores is the number of flagship stores and brand image stores with an aim to strengthen the impression of the public on the brand and enhance their loyalty. A good example is the W Space in Taipei set by Wotancraft. The store adopts a minimalist design with clear space and floor arrangement to immediately catch the eyes of visitors. To match up with the texture and originality of hand-leathers, the wall is painted by mixed-cement and the floor is covered by logs.


   GAGGENAU 1638 Restaurant

Design: German 33 GmbH Design Company

Client: Gaggenau Appliance

The winner of the 2017 Red Dot: Best of the Best is a high-end home appliance brand, Gaggenau. On its 330th anniversary, Gaggenau planned a pop-up event in New York, bringing customers back to the original German workshop. Everyone who entered the workshop Gaggenau 1638 Restaurant was impressed by the 17th German black wood, which is made by trunks and normal vegetation. The bar was a simulation of an iron-forging workshop while the waiter wore traditional costumes and a large-size cuckoo clock. All these arrangements add hues of mystique in the black wood. This concept perfectly fitted into home appliances and conquered the jury.

  No matter it’s interactional service, attractive brand image stores or reflective events, the above cases show that successful projects in retail sections must attend the emotional needs of people in a fast changing world. Although those designs accentuate the difference of online and offline world, a trend of integration has been seen in many cases. Retailers need to find out new ways of combining the essences of two different worlds by drawing on the creativity of designers.


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