We know that the shopper journey today is complex, switching seamlessly between on-line and instore. Retail has had to change to an ecosystem of physical spaces and digital consumption. The purpose of stores extends far beyond displaying, selling products and services.

Shopper behaviour has driven the need to merge social interactions, fun, entertainment, and learning experiences.

Physical retail stores are a key ingredient in a wider system of shopper experiences that must connect seamlessly at all touchpoints.

So what goes into a physical retail experience?

To the untrained eye of most shoppers, it may appear as a few shelves, a nicely dressed shop window, or a place in a shop where they can try things out to maybe get a sense of what a product feels like or how it works out of the box.

If only life were so simple!

In reality, few shoppers realise the extensive thought and planning that goes into the design of these displays. Fewer still realise that skilled retail display designers use tried and tested psychological tools specifically to attract shoppers, engage their attention and convert sales.

We use our Attract, Engage and Convert framework to guide shoppers through the physical store and enable them to relax, enjoy and spend time finding the right product or experience that’s relevant to them.

And we’re not just talking aisle end impulse purchase racks, 2 for 1 offers or BOGOFs – all of which have been around since the dawn of retail time.

Let’s be honest: use of psychological techniques is certainly not new in retail any more than it is in advertising in general.  Or indeed in any other sectors.

No sir. Today’s high performing retail displays are complex and sophisticated solutions designed to engage shoppers and keep them coming back for more – an important consideration in times when many consumers may be facing more strain on the purse or wallet than usual.

So how does it work? And what are these clever psychological methods used by leading retail designers as they conceive ever more experiential displays to engage shoppers?

In this blog, we look at a few interesting examples of how psychology principles are used to make retail displays and experiences ever more successful and engaging.

Prepare and Prime

We’re all familiar with the enticing aroma of a Cornish pastie or French baguette as we meander through a shopping mall or wait for a train at the railway station.

This often-used technique of appealing to the senses is known in the retail landscape as priming. Subtle priming techniques include unobtrusive stimuli which (in a retail environment) are designed to entice customers into investigating and potentially purchasing products, sometimes on an impulse basis but also to kick-off a longer buyer journey.

Give and take

The concept behind “give and take” psychology (also known as reciprocity) is simple: if a retail display is inviting you to partake in a sample or is offering something of value to you (a slice of pie, a try out on a bike simulator, a beauty makeover, a sip of a smoothie or juice), then there’s an implied expectation that you’ll offer something of value in return.

That ‘something’ might be nothing more than your email address.

Cleverly designed retail experiences use this technique in numerous – and often very sophisticated – ways which involve subtle persuasion to engage with the brand further and potentially go on to make a purchase.

As well as physical product ‘try-outs’ which can involve a competitive edge, give and take psychology is also used in cosmetics displays which often feature beauty consultations and using products to match hair colours and skin tones, with the option to receive a free makeover. The ‘reciprocal’ is for shopper to go on to make a purchase afterwards – not always a 100% certainty, but using data and analytics, retailers know what proportion of conversions they need.

Provoking emotions

Ahh, emotions. The perennial favourite.

Emotions play a big part in how all of us make our decisions, and a retail display designer knows this as much as anyone.

By inducing an emotional response such as joy, excitement, curiosity or instant gratification from a display experience, retailers are aiming to draw us in to generate further engagement and sales.

Retail experiences can be designed to appeal our natural curiosity for how a product works and behaves in a close-to-real situation. Thus giving shoppers a reason to visit stores!

As an example, Displayplan provides in-store play experiences for LEGO, whereby we wanted shoppers to engage with built LEGO models and have a close look at the construction. The shopper can re-live a childhood play moment and be inspired towards a new purchase. 

Wayfinding to stop and hold shoppers

When designing complete in-store display and layout solutions, implementing a wayfinding strategy is essential to keeping shoppers relaxed and happy, making them more likely to purchase. Layering in display technology to pull shoppers first into store, and then guide them further through the store using wayfinding techniques.

These techniques link directly to what Neuroscientists have identified, how the brain helps us to filter out unwanted background noise or other distracting sensory stimuli. Designers can use this thinking to develop areas in store that can be calming and easily read through brand colour blocks, removing excess products, and creating clear destinations. Asda George Evolution of Fashion is a great example.

How does this enable shoppers to slow down, pause on their journey, and create opportunities for them to engage with specific displays where they can interact with products?

By creating clear spaces, intrigue, interest, and engagement that stops and holds shoppers through another technique known as Speed Bumps.

Speed Bumps involve positioning displays at important locations in store to momentarily divert shoppers from their intended route. In this way, they can be interested by other engaging displays that show off equally compelling products.

Product Clustering

Another psychological method used in retail is clustering. Most humans can only retain 6 or 7 key pieces of information at any given time, and this can cause issues for retailers wanting to convey multiple messages about their product.

A clever way around this problem is for complementary or similar products to be positioned in clusters.

For example, personal beauty or grooming products in a range or category can be displayed together in a ‘lift and learn’ cluster, which then means that shoppers can see, touch, feel and experience different items and decide which one is best for them.

Displayplan developed an award-winning play table display experience concept for Boots. Our brief was to showcase all Boots’ electrical beauty products in one area, using an integrated blend of digital and physical displays as a one-stop in-store destination for the full electrical beauty product range.

Community and social affirmation

How often have you been asked a question like “Do I look good in this?” Or how many times have you put a question like that to someone you love or whose opinion you value?

Most of us need to feel a sense of confidence before we decide to buy something, particularly if it’s a fashion item. There’s nothing quite like social affirmation from friends and family to give us a sense that we’re making the right choice.

Brand affirmation has a special value within a known community group.

In fact if you think about it, word-of-mouth recommendations (now as much voiced via online recommendations as much as verbally) are key drivers of purchase decisions according to Forbes, who state “between 50% and 91% of all purchases are influenced by word-of-mouth in some way”.

To respond to this trend, many retail stores are encouraging shoppers to try products (particularly clothing) in-store, then post photos direct on social media asking for opinion. This can be done via QR codes in real time using smartphones

Next steps

If you’re a retail brand or marketing exec looking to inject some psychological design thinking into your display designs, speak to Displayplan about how we can create the perfect in-store experience for you. Contact us today.

As the pendulum swings back shopping and to physical retail, in store experiences offer retailers a great opportunity to drive brand awareness and engagement before, during and after their store visit.

Shoppers who feel more engaged earlier are likely to buy more, buy bigger and buy more often. According to recent research, 72% of digital shoppers “consider the in-store experience as the most important channel when making a purchase”.

And 71% of in-store shoppers say that their “smartphone has become more important to their in-store experience”.

Retailers realise that there’s no point trying to reproduce or replicate online customer experiences across the physical space – or vice versa. But what they need to do is combine digital with physical in one place to provide something uniquely different that can only be experienced by going in-store.

Experiences and emotions in driving retail engagement

Shoppers increasingly want to feel trust in a brand before making a purchase. Retailers, in turn, can use emotions to invoke a sense of trust on the part of those shoppers.

‘Emotions’ in this example may include enjoyment, intrigue, happiness, surprise and aspiration as well as others.

This is why some forward-thinking retailers are turning their retail spaces into playground experiences where shoppers can enjoy experiences such as entertainment, learning and instant satisfaction.

To do this, they need to conceive, design, develop and install physical, interactive, digital and virtual displays into their retail environments.

When enhanced further with superior customer service, these displays transform ‘shopping’ into innovative and engaging retail experiences that can translate into sales.

Read on to discover 6 Key Ways to Enhance the In-Store Retail Experience that can be used to drive engagement and sales.

1 – Position displays to engage shoppers – fast!

No shopper looks forward to being pounced on by a sales assistant the minute they set foot in-store, despite the offers of help and suggestions.

However, to kick off their in-store experience, engaging retail displays can be designed and positioned to connect with customers within just a few seconds of their entry into the store.

That’s not to say sales assistants should not attempt to engage shoppers, but as product experts, they can do so in an appropriate and knowledgeable way at the right time.

2 – Combine physical displays with VR and AR technologies

Shoppers of all ages like to interact and ‘play’ with technology to some extent, so retailers can enhance their retail experiences with VR headsets, tablets and interactive displays.

Touchscreens and tablets – positioned in locations such as fitting rooms – can be used to enhance in-store shopping experiences, offering product options, alternatives, information about colour ranges, sizes, fit and so on.

These sorts of technologies complement shoppers’ online behaviour, allowing them to research and browse products at their own pace, without the pressure of feeling that they need to interact with a shop assistant, yet with that option, if they want it.

3 – Bring ecommerce into the store

Retail experiences can be enhanced by bringing ecommerce into the physical store.

As discussed in our recent retail experiences blog, shoppers want a seamless multichannel experience whether shopping in-store or online, regardless of where they are shopping.

And while some of them may make allowances, research shows that shoppers now expect speed and convenience whether they’re shopping online or in-store.

This means that the brand experience needs to follow the customer from online to physical store and vice versa.

Using ecommerce-enabled technologies, shoppers can be given the ability to build a personal online shopping cart while browsing in-store, as well as using their mobile device to scan QR codes and barcodes on displays to access real-time stock availability, pricing, reviews and product information.

This full ‘browse and buy’ behaviour combines the physical store experience of viewing, holding and trying the products with online, real-time e-commerce – whilst also offering the option to speak to an assistant, raising the in-store experience to a whole new level.

4 – Turn the physical store into an event venue

“Retailtainment” is about providing unique experiences that can delight and engage shoppers in a way that they would not experience at other times, or in other stores.

By attracting shoppers to in-store product demos or pop-up presentations, retailers have an opportunity to gather contact details as well as to direct the shoppers towards social media channels, the retailer’s app, or its website.

Once armed with these details – and permission to use them – retailers can then keep shoppers informed of future product demonstrations, talks and learning opportunities scheduled to take place in-store, and which offer them reasons to return.

5 – Introduce kid-friendly in-store experiences

Any parent will be familiar with the occasional frustrations of shopping with kids in tow.

With nothing to keep them occupied while mums or dads shop, there’s a good chance that the in-store visit is going to be cut short – meaning lost sales for the retailer.

So it follows that if your shoppers’ kids are happy in your store, there’s a great chance your shoppers will be happy too.

Play areas or play displays such as those covered in our recent article about retail experiences are perfect for engaging kids, which means that those with money to spend can be persuaded to prolong their visit and for an improved chance of making a purchase.

6 – Map the shopper journey

The goal behind mapping in-store shopper journeys is to minimise ‘friction’ on the way to a purchase.

By getting the experience wrong and creating too much friction at any point along the journey retailers run the risk of losing shoppers and sales.

The use of directional wayfinding – from the point of store entry, through in-store navigation to engagement and the immersion of trying out products (e.g. play tables or lift and learn displays) and on to the checkout – can help your shoppers move seamlessly through their journey, increasing the chance of a sale.

Interactive displays and QR code wayfinding are great interactive and personalised technology-based ways to help shoppers along their in-store journey.

Final word

Some shoppers know exactly what they want when they arrive at the store. Others may not be intending to purchase at all, or may simply be browsing without having any clue of what they’re going to purchase.

No matter what the start-out motivations of these shopper types, an engaging and pleasurable in-store shopping experience stands a good chance of attracting them back for a future visit.

In-store experiences are thus a real opportunity to build lasting engagement and should be considered indispensable in the fight for consumer footfall.

Next steps

Talk to retail experience experts Displayplan about developing a concept for your in-store retail spaces. Call us today on +44 1462 88 6000 or email info@displayplan.com

As some retailers and consumer brands continue to face criticism and scepticism over their claims of being sustainable, it’s clear that retailers need to do more.

But what do those two words – “do more” – entail?

Certainly, across virtually every industry sector, there are examples of corporates and multinationals making claims about their green credentials or their sustainable approach.

In the retail sector, there are many studies that show shoppers need to be more convinced about sustainability claims. With heightened levels of environmental awareness through TV documentaries, and shocking reports about multinationals ‘greenwashing’ their environmental record, consumers are increasingly looking for solid proof of action being taken to improve sustainability, not just words and pretty pictures.

With sustainability and climate action featuring increasingly in consumer spending decisions, controlling carbon impact should be a central part of retailers’ approach to business.

What should retailers be doing

What should retailers be doing?

For Displayplan, the definition of “do more” means putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to sustainability.

For example, in 2020 we became a carbon neutral company and have maintained this status.

Through the efforts of our leadership, design, and production teams, we continue to provide our clients with sustainable solutions based on proven, practical and realistic actions that reduce embedded carbon in their retail displays.

Sustainability is highly complex and multifaceted, consisting of many different dimensions which start with the design, which controls the environmental impact of our displays through manufacturing partners and suppliers.


Start by measuring carbon

As a supplier of display solutions, Displayplan’s delivery approach puts a single key question at the heart of its sustainability policy: “How can we measure the environmental impact of our retail store displays?”

The answer lies in the Low Impact Shopfitting Tool (LIST), which provides a framework for designers measuring and reducing embedded carbon in displays.

LIST allows us to measure the sustainability of our design solutions and create a benchmark that can show progressive improvement across a range retail display design metrics including materials, energy, and transportation.

It also demonstrates to our clients that we are committed to helping them meet their sustainability goals, through our design for disassembly principles, use of recyclable materials and elimination of single-use plastics.

LIST was developed by sustainability experts at BRE (Building Research Establishment) with retail industry leaders including Displayplan to “enable retailers, designers and manufacturers to evaluate and compare the environmental impact of interior fit-out designs.”

Download Displayplan’s Guide to LIST here.

TOP TIP: retailers and brands should require display solutions providers to factor measurement of embedded carbon into the design process from concept through to end-of-life re-purposing or disassembly.


Reduce Carbon in Retail Displays

When we know the carbon impact of our retail display solution designs, we can take the necessary steps to reducing it by light weighting materials and refining components.

Operational carbon emissions arising from lighting and screens can be measured and reduced by selecting sustainable, energy-efficient suppliers of renewable energy.

Carbon impact can be measured and reduced through the substitution of materials used in display designs. Targets for carbon reduction in retail displays include:

  • Choose natural instead of manufactured construction materials: the use of natural, renewable materials such as timber from sustainable sources instead of process-intensive manufactured materials offers a clear route to embedded carbon reduction.
  • Opt for sustainable surface finishes: retail display surface finishes such as PVC or other plastic laminates applied to core wood construction materials stop end-of-life recycling. These different materials should not be bonded together permanently e.g. plastic to wood. Instead, paper-based laminates should be used to enable recycling, avoiding landfill or incineration.
  • Use recycled material: using recycled content within materials can reduce the carbon impact of a new display e.g. mild steel with 60% recycled content and paper based packaging with 100% recycled content.
  • Make display designs modular: designing modular elements into a retail display means you can efficiently build any size display to suit the store and replace worn out components individually, saving considerable wastage.
  • Choose sustainable display substrate: switching graphic substrate materials from Foamex (PVC) to card reduces CO2 significantly because card is easier to recycle.
  • Modify display designs to use less material: using less material in retail displays reduces embedded CO2. For example, reducing plywood thickness from 25mm to 18mm saved 16% of embedded carbon and cuts down weight.
  • Source sustainably wherever possible: sourcing locally or regionally reduces delivery miles and carbon impact compared to international freight, while flatpack designs that optimise box size and palletisation, reduce shipment volume and improve transportation efficiency.

TOP TIP: retailers and brands should use a sustainably conscious retail design specialist to create low-carbon displays, incorporating “design for disassembly” principles into the whole display lifecycle from the start of the process to end-of-life.


Carbon offsetting what can’t be reduced

Carbon offsetting has – in some quarters – drawn a fair amount of criticism. That’s because many of the companies that talk about it on their websites and in their CSR statements are involved in heavily carbon producing sectors such as oil and gas or air transportation.

However, for the retail sector, and considering the measurement and reduction steps discussed above, carbon offsetting does represent a valid path towards a more sustainable way of business.

What is carbon offsetting?

Where carbon emissions produced via business operations cannot be reduced to zero through reductions alone, carbon offsetting aims to counterbalance the carbon through other positive measures and interventions. Examples include:

  • Forestry and conservation
  • Renewable energy
  • Community projects
  • Waste to energy conversion

Not all carbon offsetting schemes deliver in the way intended, and it’s also true that some organisations use carbon offsetting as a veil for the continuation of environmentally damaging and unsustainable business operations.

The key is to find an offsetting programme which will work most efficiently to deal with the carbon footprint of your particular business.

For some organisations with a relatively small carbon footprint, a single activity scheme such as tree planting scheme be sufficient to offset it.

For others, a multi-benefit activity which involves the business in promoting renewable energy or making clean water available may be more appropriate and can feed into a CSR programme.

Developing a Carbon Offsetting strategy

The risk of carbon offsetting is that it can be a ‘lip service’ strategy that looks better than it delivers on real behavioural change; as mentioned above, to be truly beneficial, a carbon offsetting strategy should be used once every avenue of carbon reduction has been followed. Carbon offsetting is not just an extra cost of continuing with environmentally unsound business processes and operations.

Displayplan’s approach is to:

  1. Offset our operational Tier 1 and Tier 2 GHG emissions through a credible, established carbon credit programme and reduce our future environmental impact.
  2. Measure the carbon in our retail display designs so that our clients can make their own offsetting decisions either through their own initiatives or our strategy.

TOP TIP: when selecting a carbon offsetting scheme, be rigorous in researching credibility of the provider. Look for validation and verification accreditations from organisations that show adherence to safeguards, stakeholder inclusivity and proof of sustainability impact. Be careful too to ensure that the principles and values of your carbon offsetting partner align with those of your organisation, your clients and your supply partners.

Next steps

If you choose to work with Displayplan, you are assured that through our work with our carbon credit partner, we can support and enable your company’s journey toward carbon net zero.

Through our carbon measurement and reduction methodologies and our identified market-leading partner, we can offset the carbon in your retail display solutions or provide a measure of the carbon in your retail display design solutions for you to make your own offsetting decisions.

braun store

Most retailers and consumer brands understand the importance of developing retail experiences that delight, entertain and captivate shoppers to drive higher customer engagement rates.

Experiential retail can drive shopper footfall, improve shopper engagement, entertain or educate shoppers, offer opportunities to try out products, boost in-store and online sales as well as enhancing customer loyalty and repeat visits.

Behind these experiences lies a creative process that is imagined, planned and delivered with great precision.

In this article, we explain the 9-step process for taking retail experiences from concept to creation for our retail clients. 

Step 1 – Aims and Objectives

Excellent outcomes start with a well-thought-out brief which details the problems, aims and objectives of the client.

At this stage, it’s not so important to define the detail of the experience, rather to establish the problem and possible desired result. The clearer the end goal, the greater the likelihood of a successful project.

Step 2 – Research and Planning

The brief must be scrutinised to establish feasibility and iron out any lack of clarity.

It’s important to establish that the goals set out in the original brief can be achieved within available budget and timescale – or not as the case may be. If the proposed brief can meet the overall objective, then progress to the next step.

Step 03 Ideas and inspiration

Step 3 – Ideas, thinking and inspiration

Now the design team gets to work. Their job is to create the ideas and concepts that can help drive the goals outlined in the brief, whilst considering all the next steps down the line to enable an effective solution in-store.

As a result, the blending of shopper journey, experience in-store and interaction with the product and messaging must create anticipation and excitement. Plus, we must consider the practical aspects of right materials and construction process methodologies – including specifications for disassembly at end of life to aid recyclability. Location of manufacture influences logistics and related costs. If not in line with the expectations or the set budget, it’s back to the drawing board.

We use relevant technologies that create positive instore retail experiences, such as lift and learn, immersive VR and AR, wayfinding, touch-screen discovery moments and clear brand messaging that reflects all touch points in a shopper’s engagement with brands and products.

How, where and when they will be used in this shopper journey will all be imagined by our creative experiential designers during this key stage of the process.

Step 04 Check in modular parts

Step 4 – Internal check-in and preview

The creative ideas for presenting to the client are refined as we evaluate and rank in terms of meeting the experiential requirements within brief. They range from ‘spot on’ meets the brief, to pushing a highly innovative or conceptual experience that both meets and exceeds the initial requirement.

Displayplan thrives on pushing the boundaries by explaining and adding value to set the right direction, for the right result, rather than ‘doing just enough’ to meet the brief.

The check-in and preview stages are great opportunities to create compelling stories with insights that substantiate the new ideas and creative concepts. Producing pragmatic solutions within a strong presentation turns our clients into heroes, it’s hard to argue with the results.

Step 05 Meeting

Step 5 – Client concept meeting

It’s now time to present the creative concepts to the stakeholders.

During the presentation, we will lead the client through the compelling story of how we have answered their problem and brief with the creative ideas. This always creates discussion and good debate. Plus, we back up all the thinking with considered timescales, logistical considerations and budget requirements proposed.

At this stage, any feedback or modification requests can be taken away and reviewed, to be implemented into an updated design if required.

Experiential retail ideas may sometimes be hard to express, making it difficult for stakeholders to visualise immediately. Displayplan’s creative designers know the importance of demonstrating exactly how their ideas will meet or exceed expectations, using the right method to explain the key idea features e.g. movies, sketch renders or hand drawn expressive story boards. These can be readily understood and bought into by the client.


Step 6 – Prototype drawings

Once agreed, the selected idea is ready for the first stage of prototyping.

The concept solution can now be handed on to be transformed into detailed technical drawings for prototype, completed by the technical team. They explore the detail to enable the intended experiential display to become a reality.

Assumptions can be tested, calculations made, tests run. Adjustments can be made to reflect regional requirements or for manufacturing feasibility.  All other elements can be included at this stage, such as artwork and packaging designs, quality control, assembly guides, risk assessment documentation and logistical/shipping considerations.

Step 7 – Pre-production review and experience testing

Once again stakeholders are invited to review the full prototype. All experiential displays are tested as well at this stage before introduction across multiple stores. Any modification requirements are discussed and when satisfied the project moves onwards.

The testing process is rigorous to ensure the validity of the prototype and to ensure that it will be safe in-store, plus the content is aimed at driving footfall, engagement, and sales. The experiential concept may be trialled in one or more live retail environments, where data on footfall and engagement data can be gathered and compared against earlier thinking.

This step is crucial for insuring we deliver a robust scalable solution ready for roll-out. Every measure possible is taken to develop a final version that is fit for purpose.


Step 8 – Production and QC

Based on the testing results, and the data gathered, the experiential design is accepted into full production.

Once fully approved, it’s full steam ahead to move into manufacture and deployment. At this stage, quality control checks and documentation are in place, supply chain partners and installers are aligned and ready to go and the production and logistics team work together to begin rolling out the displays across the retail estate.


Step 9 – Evaluation

Though the whole process has been driven by a rigorous project management approach, experiential display solutions must be constantly monitored through the gathering and evaluation of anonymised shopper engagement data.

Review milestones are agreed so that reviews of both the delivery and the performance of the new retail experience concept can be evaluated against key goals.

The bottom line is to drive brand engagement and sales, through what constitutes success for each individual retail experience design determined by the client’s original objectives.

Concluding thoughts

Every successful retail experience requires creative thinking, great design and planning process that is managed, controlled and aligned towards achieving positive results.

The practical creation and deployment of retail experiences is not always straightforward, and indeed many – sometimes unexpected – complexities can crop up during the development stage.

If you are starting the journey from concept to creation for your retail experience, speak to Displayplan. We help our clients develop retail experiences that increase footfall, engage shoppers and drive sales.

Call now for an initial discussion with one of our retail experience experts on +44 1462 88 6000 or email info@displayplan.com.

Brand and retail professionals know that delivering memorable instore retail experiences is the only way to attract and engage increasingly savvy shoppers.

Improved experiential retail is about enhancing the whole shopper journey, from the point of initial awareness, through the anticipation and expectation of the in-store shopping experience to the impact of the experience itself. It also extends to the payment and post-checkout process.

Whether through hands on try-out experiences or VR or interactive displays, physical retail stores must constantly vie for attention against their online ecommerce competitors, by using technology to differentiate an in-store visit and connect with customers.

With 77% of Gen-Z shoppers saying they’d prefer to shop in-store rather than online, this is the perfect time for brands to explore and invest in the many shapes and forms experiential retail comes in.

Personalisation and Interaction

One way that retailers can ensure that their in-store display solutions are keeping pace with evolving shopper expectations is to recognise and respond to the growing demand for personalised experiences that has become the norm of online shopping.

Many retailers are investing in technology that sends personalised messages and videos to customers based on factors such as their location or use of an app. These personalised touches make customers feel valued but also capitalise on the fact that shoppers are increasingly willing to interact with displays using their smartphones, thereby creating their own personalised shopping experiences.

Research from Google shows that 84% of “smartphone shoppers” already use their phones in-store to help them decide what to buy. Retailers that are tuned into this offer their customers the option to access tailor-made retail assisted shopping solutions by scanning a QR code or barcode and providing their personal information.


Immersive Experiences

When it comes to truly immersive retail experiences, it has to involve augmented or virtual reality.

Augmented reality gives customers the opportunity to try before they buy as was never possible in the past. For example, cosmetics company Sephora have invested in Virtual Mirrors that allow customers to see themselves digitally wearing different make-up looks.

Virtual reality is being used to satisfy customer desire for both the convenience of shopping online and an in-store experience. Virtual showrooms allow the customer to navigate a simulation of a store as if they were there in person. There is potential for the technology to integrate a social element whereby customers can shop with their friends online.



Multichannel retail offers shoppers the opportunity to use whatever devices and platforms they want to, at different points and times throughout their purchasing journey. For example, a customer may see a product they like on social media, then visit the brand’s website on their laptop or smartphone, followed by using in-store display technology such as lift-and-learn to explore the product before finally buying it.

Customers should be able to move seamlessly between these devices and platforms whenever it is convenient to them, and the transition from online to offline should be as easy and smooth as possible.

Multichannel experiences are essential not just for attracting customers but also retaining their attention along their shopper journey, using experiential technologies both online and offline to maximise their propensity to convert. These seamless multichannel experiences are more likely to result in a sale because shoppers do not need to repeat actions across multiple devices and channels.



Retailtainment describes adventurous experiential retail. It is used to put customers in the mood to spend through the means of stimulating features, such as opportunities for interaction. For example, Adidas have developed a ‘Bring it to me’ option in their app for in-store shoppers. Customers can simply take a photo of the shoe they’d like to try on and a shop assistant brings it to them by accessing their location on their own device.

Unique retailtainment innovations like this excite customers and drive them to share their experiences on social media, thereby creating free marketing for the brand.

Lift and Learn Technology

Lift and Learn technology allows customers to experience the best of what both offline and online shopping offer. Shoppers are given the opportunity to be hands-on with a product whilst also receiving extra information, such as stock, reviews and accessory recommendations, usually only available when buying online.

For retailers, offering shopper experiences using these technologies can reduce return as by exploring product features, usability and ergonomics more thoroughly pre-purchase enabling customers to be more confident about their purchase.

Through integrated monitoring technology, brands are able to gather valuable data around shopper behaviours in response to these retail experiences, as well as enhancing engagement and conversions.



Wayfinding is another key ingredient of the overall retail experience, and can play a huge role in influencing shoppers towards a purchase decision.

As a key element differentiating online from offline shopping, retailers are increasingly paying closer attention to wayfinding in-store using physical display and technology innovations. By getting this aspect of the retail experience right, retailers can help shoppers feel the benefit of being guided around a store, yet loosely enough that they are energised to purchase by a sense of their own autonomy.

Wayfinding adds elements of excitement and sophistication to retail experiences – for example with   wayfinding technology such as apps that guide and direct shoppers virtually in- store – yet also simplifies and enhances the overall shopping experience.

Next steps

At Displayplan, we think retail displays should be designed to offer personalised, hands-on, educational and informative experiences. Displayplan helps its clients develop personalised retail experiences that appeal to the senses and emotions of target shoppers. We design your retail display to offer shoppers the opportunity to engage with your brand, experience your products and become invested in them. Speak with one of our retail display specialists on 01462 88 6000 or email info@displayplan.com.

Personalised experiences can revolutionise how shoppers engage with brands.

Personalisation sits at the heart of retail in 2022. Personalised experiences need to be interactive, resonate with customers in real time and be relevant, educational and informative.

In this article we discuss why personalisation is so important to physical retail and how it can be used to drive shopper attraction, engagement and conversion.

Why is personalisation so important?

For the answer to that we need to turn to the online world. The likes of Amazon have conditioned consumers to expect personalised experiences, whether suggestions based on previous purchases, preferences based on demographics or personalised messages and offers.

McKinsey and Co go as far as speculating that personalisation may now be regarded as a “hygiene factor”, whereby customers take it for granted to such an extent that if a retailer gets it wrong, they risk losing the customer.

How are personalised experiences being used in physical retail?

2022 is predicted to be the year when personalised experiential retail really takes off.

The key is the interaction between physical product, digital technologies, smartphones and data.

retail experience 2

Barcodes and QR codes

Retail display specialists recognise that shoppers are increasingly willing to use their smartphone to interact with barcodes and QR codes instore.

This has enabled the delivery of personalised experiences via the scanning of a QR code. Shoppers can interact with digital screens to answer questions on their phone which then produce personalised answers and recommendations on the instore display screen.

Retailers and brands can then intelligently pull back data and analytics to control content and experiences remotely anywhere in the world from a single software platform. It also enables retailers to use data intelligently to improve shopper experience.

By using more data, experiences can be personalised further using technologies which can recognise the shopper through:

  • Their use of an app e.g. brand’s app
  • Their location e.g. geo fencing
  • Their personal details e.g. name, age, gender

Data gathering and insights

As described above, personalised interactive displays can be used to derive data intelligently and drive value.

By using 3D creative and well-engineered physical displays to create integrated experiences, data can be gathered on how customers respond content and experiential displays, and how they move around the store. Interactions can be monitored, along with dwell times and locations.

As a next step, the data can be used to refine and personalise the customer experience and in-store journey. Understanding how shoppers are interacting with displays enables retail managers to drive increases in ROI by generating small increases in interactions or dwell time.


Case study

For Garmin, we monitored lift and learn technology interactions on a range of different products, enabling analysts to interpret data and draw conclusions.

When compared to in-store sales data, the data showed that after trying out premium products, shoppers often go on to purchase a related product of lesser value. We worked with Garmin to change the digital display content and messaging to emphasise the benefits of the higher value product, resulting in an uplift in sales.

Evolution of expectation

Increasingly, shoppers visit a store to gain insight into a product they’re aware of or interested in, because in so doing they can get more than they’d learn from an online page or static printed graphic.

Many of today’s shoppers are already armed and educated before they go to a store, unless the products are traditionally seen as ‘impulse’ purchases.

Yet through personalised experiences, what have for years been regarded as impulse purchases can be transformed into ‘destination’ purchases that shoppers head to a store specifically to buy.

retail experience 3

Connected environments

For true personalisation, physical display must be integrated with digital technology to create an initial “attract moment”, engage the shopper, educate and inform the customer and ultimately close the loop and convert them into a sale.

This attract-engage-convert journey may start online, lead to a personalised in-store experience using integrated digital and physical media with a product and then ultimately finish with an online purchase.

This multi-phase, multi-dimensional shopper journey is enabled and enhanced throughout by collection and analysis of data and underpinned by hands-on experience comprising educational and personalised information.

Far from shoppers being disappointed by a lack of product stock in-store, the “no stock” store is now a destination in itself for shoppers to experience products they have discovered online, and which with a QR code scan can be ordered for delivery at home.

Delivery will soon be within hours or minutes and may well be by drone.

“The future of retail will be a cashless, convenient and a personalised shopper experience. Easy, engaging with no friction.”

Leon Turney

Next steps

Ready to personalise your retail display experiences for your shoppers?

Retail displays should be designed to offer personalised, hands-on, educational and informative experiences. Displayplan helps its clients develop personalised retail experiences that appeal to the senses and emotions of target shoppers. We design your retail display to offer shoppers the opportunity to engage with your brand, experience your products and become invested in them.

At Displayplan, we’re retail display experts. Speak with one of our specialists on 01462 88 6000 or email info@displayplan.com.

2022 is here! So to kick off the New Year here’s a roundup of some key highlights from 2021.

Though 2021 was a challenging year for many in retail, Displayplan continued to deliver visionary brand experiences designed to attract and engage shoppers.

In 2021 community, sustainability and usability have all been significant and integral in our collaborations with retailers and brands. Let’s look back at some of the key stories that have mattered most through the year in the form of our commitments to sustainability, customers and employee milestones.


2021 was the year that sustainability and environmental change came into sharper focus than ever, with the question being asked of all businesses: “What are you really doing to respond to the climate crisis?”

At Displayplan we have continued to be both critical and creative when it comes to confronting the environmental impact of our work.

During 2021, driving sustainability with our customers has been a massive priority for us, with an ongoing focus on being a carbon neutral company since 2020.

In March, we introduced our mission to reduce the embedded carbon in our displays with our Measure. Reduce. Offset. campaign, and we continue to offset our Tier 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

We achieve this by measuring and reducing as much of the embedded carbon as possible across the whole life cycle of all of our displays, using Design for Disassembly principles and our Sustainable Design Thinking approach. We then offset the carbon that cannot be eliminated through measurement and reduction.

Displayplan’s commitment to sustainability will continue into 2022 and beyond as part of our contribution to the retail sector’s target of achieving net zero carbon by 2040.



Experiential display has been a major focus for us in 2021 and will continue to be in 2022.

Displayplan collaborated with Boots to create immersive, technology-driven play tables that invite customers to touch, feel and experience high-value electrical beauty products. This project was about placing shopper experience at the heart of the display, using our expertise and learning to create an effective customer journey based around sensory exploration, entertainment and education.

With these Boots play tables, the customer journey starts with eye-catching illuminated category headers and full-length screens displaying video content. The shopper is then presented with a range of ‘lift and learn’ options, whereby lifting the product triggers informational screen content to display product features.

To conclude the experience, shoppers can either purchase the product in store or use a QR code or tablet to connect directly with Boots.com and place an online order if, for example, the desired product is out of stock.

When it comes to offering shoppers an experience comprising product exploration and physical try out, in-store displays still have the undisputed and unassailable advantage over online shopping. The interactive design of the play tables concept came from a requirement to give shoppers a reason to visit their local Boots store rather than buy online.

We’re pleased to say that our efforts paid off as the Boots play tables project was declared “POPAI Innovation Gold Award Winner” of 2021.


Additionally, Displayplan was awarded the POPAI Sports and Fashion Gold Award for our work with Garmin to create a display for their premium collection of watches.

Garmin wanted a flexible and modular display system with integrated technology and strong security features. The solution was informed by Displayplan’s extensive experience of creating displays that combine functionality with inspirational creative and technical touches. Our display included a new, flexible security system, elegant digital signage providing product information and ‘lift and learn’ technology. Garmin have reported that as a result of our display innovations, theft of devices has decreased while shopper engagement and sales are on the rise.


Our recent collaboration with Hotel Chocolat was designed to bring their festive chocolate range to life. We installed two-sided digital signage display showing a series of enticing animations of Hotel Chocolat products.  One side of the signage faced outward, drawing the attention of passing customers with taste-appealing graphics and the other faced inward, to enhance the shopping experience with product information for shoppers browsing in the store. The products presented in the digital content were displayed physically below the screen, creating a connection between the imaginative and the attainable. This eclectic range of display solutions surrounds the customer in store, creating an immersively engaging audio-visual experience.


We’re thrilled to be celebrating Will Hepworth’s 20-year anniversary as our Creative Design Manager.  Will is an experienced concept designer with a strong technical foundation, having majored in Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University. Will’s role at Displayplan has him focusing on brand and retail environments and displays. Will can turn his hand to any task, from creating impulse displays for brands such as Wrigley and delivering complex solutions for consumer electronics brands.

Our congratulations also go to Leon Turney on his 10-year anniversary as Digital and Development Director. Leon’s vision for experiential retail has been chiefly driven by blending digital technology with material displays. With this innovative fusing of media, Leon has been instrumental in creating engaging and creative displays for most of the brands we currently work with.

What next for 2022?

With a new year come new projects, new opportunities to learn and create, new exciting collaborations and new challenges to get stuck into. Whether you’re looking to collaborate on a retail display that brings brand awareness and drives sales or you simply wish to find out more about what we do, speak with one of our specialists on 01462 88 6000 or email info@displayplan.com.

The Displayplan creative team toured London’s West End looking for the latest innovations in retail display.

We are always aware of what is happening in market, researching what we all live, love and breathe. It’s great to see latest retail trends and understand how shopper behaviours are evolving.

We love to soak up what some of the world’s leading global brands and masters of retail display are doing in-store to respond to these trends, in one of the great retail capitals of the world.

Our Store Tours are both informative and instructive, providing ideas and inspiration on what can be brought into our own thinking – as well as other ideas that might be best avoided.


Download the report now

The report from Dudley and the team, “Store Tour London – Autumn 21” can be downloaded from our website here.

What are we aiming to learn?

The aim of our Store Tour is to explore some of the latest trends in London retail display across three key sectors in which we have extensive experience: fashion, consumer electronics and sports.

We found for examples of:

  • Changing shopper behaviours
  • New sustainable approaches being introduced into physical retail
  • How integrated technologies are being applied to deliver engaging experiences.

What did the Store Tour tell us?

There is strong evidence that sustainable thinking is being widely used to bring about a reduction in the use of single use plastics, both through reusable packaging and recycled materials.

We found that in retail, as across most sectors, consumer behaviour has changed significantly in the last 18 months due to the COVID pandemic. As a result, brands are increasingly adapting by making highly innovative use of integrated technologies both to attract shoppers into store and retain their attention whilst there.

It is clear that health and wellbeing are incredibly important to shoppers, and retailers are going to occasionally extraordinary lengths to recognise and cater for this.

Sports direct

Which brands did we visit on our Store Tour?

In total we visited 15 West End stores along the length of Oxford Street and its immediate neighbouring streets of Regent Street and Carnaby Street as well as some new and exciting retail stores outside the immediate environs of these focal shopping areas.

Stores we visited included:

  • Rapha
  • Lululemon
  • Breitling Watches
  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Sports Direct
  • Selfridges
  • Sook
  • Samsung
  • Sports Direct
  • Dyson…

…and a range of others.

Next steps

Read our insights and observations from our Store Tour by downloading our short Store Tour report.

Find out how Sook are challenging the very essence of retail presence with a new pop-up retail concept whereby premium high street retail space can be rented for any period – from a single hour to a day or a week.

Learn how Selfridges are using the attraction of an in-store cinema combined with costumes from the movie screenings to draw shoppers in.

And read our comparison of the flagship stores of two giants of consumer electronics Apple and Microsoft as they battle for shopper attention and in-store dwell time.

There’s lots more food for thought and inspiration as we draw our own conclusions from this Store Tour. We hope you enjoy it!

About Displayplan

Displayplan are retail display experts who can help you create showstopping in-store experiences for your retail premises, brands and products, whilst also helping to minimise their impact on the planet.

To find out more, contact our team of retail display specialists today.

toy store display

Experiential retail display is widely used to influence shopper behaviour through entertainment and/or education in-store.

Designing in-store product displays that appeal to shoppers’ senses doesn’t just attract and engage them whilst in-store; it also enhances their shopping experience and helps drive sales.

Recently, a survey of over 5,000 fashion buyers showed 44% of people were more motivated to visit a physical shop that gave personalised offers to use in-store and linked to digital experiences.

This, along with countless more statistics, shows the importance of integrating on-line with off-line, technology, entertainment, connecting seamlessly for experiences that enhance digital and physical shopping.

For retailers and brands, experiential display solutions must centre around performance, both for the shopper and bottom-line sales, incorporating elements of interactivity and originality while creating a relationship between the shop/product and the consumers.

There is one key ingredient that helps ensure these elements are met.


Designing retail experiences is about thinking outside the box, being unique and promoting innovation.

What does it mean to be different? 

In-store experiences can be physical, digital or a combination of both. The way that these interact seamlessly is important to the shopper journey. Overall, the shopper should be given opportunities to touch, feel and interact with products while in the store in a memorable way.

Yet being different doesn’t always mean doing everything new.

Shaking up the norm and including relevant experiences within physical designs can be a great way to add a wow factor to your in-store marketing. Creating unique, creative, and well-thought-through experiences provides exciting, unexpected moments that help reflect your brand and messaging, putting your product in the spotlight.

Why your customers seek unique experiences

The COVID 19 pandemic has changed shopper behaviour. Retail has had to change, it’s now a complex ecosystem of physical spaces and digital consumption. The purpose extends far beyond displaying and selling products and services.

Shopper behaviour has driven the need to merge social interactions, fun, entertainment, and learning experiences.

In February 2021, up to 71% of people were buying more online than they ever had before. Now, with lockdown restrictions lifted, businesses are faced with more pressure to encourage shoppers back to the high streets.

Where online retail cannot compete, is in offering hands-on, in person experience. Experiential retail displays offer shoppers the chance to interact with products, allowing them to touch, feel, hear, and smell, enhancing their retail experience through entertainment and education rather than simply enabling a purchase.

The role of stores has evolved, turning them into places that offer meaningful interactions with customers. The entertaining and often education and playful experiences which are only available in-store is rapidly becoming a fixed part of shoppers’ expectations.

Physical retail stores are only part of a wider system of shopper experiences that must connect seamlessly at all touchpoints.

How you can harness more creativity in your next retail experience

At Displayplan, we are pragmatic in our approach to creative ideas and solutions. First, we make sure we understand the problem, client goals and objectives.

Then we apply a ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ methodology that justifies our thought process, answers the client brief and offers additional insights that enhance the final solutions.

We always begin the creative process by considering all the steps of the whole project, right through to end of life recycling and reuse. This ensures we create ideas at the start that can be realised and look just like the first visuals.

By working in this way, we aim to make at an experiential display solution that:

  • Delivers an enhanced shopper experience
  • Achieves our client’s objectives and solves the problem
  • Incorporates our sustainable design thinking approach by including materials that can be reused or recycled at end of life.

Creativity at Displayplan means thinking through relevant solutions to the challenges set for us by our clients. Not just design-led ideas, but the ability to see through the issues and navigate the complete project process from sketch to store.

Yet while creative idea generation processes are in themselves exciting, the limiters faced by many retailers have to be considered. Creating great-looking, engaging retail display concepts is only part of the story; the other side is being able to implement these ideas within the confines of client budgets. This is the art of realising solutions.


The results of differences in experiences

We continually watch what’s happening in the market, keeping in touch with and understanding shopper behavioural change.

Our designers blend creativity with insights to form the reasoning for relevant ideas and design directions that respond to changing global trends. Keeping an open mind and promoting curiosity gives our team new evolving approaches to what we do.

This approach has inspired a range of highly innovative and successful experiential retail displays, such as Hasbro’s immersive in-store My Little Pony brand experience for children. We built a custom 3D immersive virtual reality experience of the world of My Little Pony with 360-degree content, delivered through a mobile phone integrated within play binoculars. This award-winning solution was designed and custom-built for retail stores, including a built-in fan and sound effects.

More recently, Displayplan developed an award-winning play table concept designed to showcase all of Boots’ electrical beauty products in one area. Here, we used a blend of relevant integrated digital and physical displays designed to engage, educate and excite shoppers, offering a one-stop in-store destination for the full electrical beauty product range.

The concept provides a hands-on experience for shoppers to touch, feel and try high-value electrical beauty products, including men’s and women’s shaving, hair care and electrical dental products. It also provides analytics and reporting to derive an understanding of shopper engagement.

And finally, yes, we did say “award winning”.  The Boots experiential play table display design received the POPAI Innovation Gold Award in 2021. We were pleased about that.

Ready to take your retail display to the next level?

Retail displays should be designed to offer hands-on, educational, and retailtainment experiences. These appeal to the senses and emotions of the target shopper, whether it be the child whisked away to the land of Equestria for My Little Pony or the shopper at Boots who wants to handle and compare electrical beauty products.

Your retail display should offer shoppers the opportunity to engage with your brand, experience your products and become invested in them. These factors all influence brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales.

At Displayplan, we’re retail display experts. So, if you want to collaborate on a retail display that’s out of this world, speak with one of our specialists on 01462 88 6000 or email info@displayplan.com.

Digital and Development Director Leon Turney celebrates 10 years with Displayplan in 2021.

Leon is a retail expert and his drive to introduce blended digital into display to create unique solutions for our clients has been instrumental in some of our key client wins.

To mark his special milestone, we caught up with Leon to get the low down on what’s keeping him busy right now and the key aspects of his role at Displayplan that have fed his enthusiasm for so long.

We also asked Leon for his thoughts on some of the major structural changes we’ve witnessed in retail over the last 10 years, and for his predictions on where the sector might be headed.

Read on!

This year marks your 10th year at Displayplan. Tell us about your time in the business!

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I started at Displayplan! What a ride! I joined the business as our Technical Design Manager, growing to Director level and am now heading up the growth of our digital division.

Where have you made the most impact so far?

Well, first I should say we’ve got an incredible team at Displayplan. The projects we create and deliver for our customers are always growing in both complexity and impact!

I feel my most important contribution is around retail innovation, leading our drive into digitally led experiences, and combining physical display with digital technologies to help our clients create new in-store brand experiences.

Has any single event or turning point in these 10 years led to a new direction for you at Displayplan?

Since the mass adoption of online shopping, retailers have seen footfall shift away from the high street. The pandemic accelerated that trend, with some high-profile casualties. Yet I still believe the last 5-6 years has seen the blossoming of a new age of retail in the shape of ‘experiential retail’ where digital forms the centre piece.

Ultimately, it’s been this shift in the global retail environment (plus the fact that I can’t sit still!) that’s driven the evolution of my role at Displayplan.

I recognised early on that putting technology into retail display creates value for both the shopper and the brand/retailer. It’s about understanding that content needs purpose to engage modern consumers, and recognising that digital is here to stay, but requires intelligence in-store to make it worthwhile.

Today we are applying this methodology to create award-winning retail experiences. It gives me immense pleasure to know I’m genuinely helping to shape the future of retail.

What does the future hold for Displayplan?

I think over the next 5 years the world of retail will continue to change at pace. The prevailing trends of today such as experience, community and sustainability are all here to stay, and we’re certain that a combination of all three will re-energise retail for the longer term.

As an industry, I think we are only at the incubation stage of what’s possible when it comes to creating meaningful retail experiences!

It’s an exciting journey.

Thanks for catching up with Leon. For more retail display insights, feel free to follow him on LinkedIn here.

If you’d also like to work with Leon and the rest of our team on an upcoming project then feel free to get in contact with us.