We had a terrific time at the Retail Design Expo 2015 in London last week (that’s a snap of our stand, below) not just seeing other industry professionals and potential customers and showing off what we can do, but also seeing what others are doing to invigorate the retail design industry. Amongst those innovators are Sportswear brand Pro Direct who chose the event to announce announced their plans to expand their innovative retail format to a series of new stores across Europe.
The move follows the recent opening of Pro Direct’s Carnaby Street flagship last year. Previously only selling online, the chain decided to make the move to bricks and mortar, where ‘superfans’ could engage with the products, by initially specialising in certain items – for example the London concept store is geared specifically towards football boots – but their new range of European stores will offer a wider range of products.
The move from online to the high street was made easier for Pro Direct by their flexible approach to retail design, which included innovative use of retail technology and some elements of online retailing which they have translated to the real world – such as ‘store takeovers’ (similar to website advertising skins) where one brand ‘takes over’ the store. For example, when Adidas predator celebrated their 20-year anniversary recently, they did so with a special range of displays throughout the store, featuring the iconic boots.
In addition to new stores, the brand announced plans to refurbish their London store, with a tech revamp. The store already features an impressive range of retail technology to engage customers and enhance the shopping experience, including a social media wall, digital mannequins and a touchscreen podium – but the group aims to keep ahead of the game by continuing to innovate with more digital technology to engage fans.
Speaking to Retail Design World Magazine, the chief of group digital business at Pro Direct, Jonny Lennon, described the plans:
“We are evolving Pro Direct’s business model. Realistically by 2020, retail is going to be about the user experience and this will overtake price and product as a brand differentiator.
“We are an ecommerce business…and we need to integrate online, with an app experience so that our customers are able to shop how and when they like. The key thing is that it’s about making a sale, but not about where you make the sale.”