30 July 2019

Retail isn’t dead, but the ideas might be

We live in unprecedented times, shops closing at a rate of knots, but what’s to blame?

Consumer confidence?






In truth, they all play their role, but we simply can’t keep blaming these things without addressing the real problem.

We may just have run out of ideas.

There. I said it.

And I, along with many other creative types must take responsibility for this malevolent outlook on the industry that we love.

We have become like the Borg and assimilated ourselves with the collective mind that says retail is dying and rather than fight against it with new and interesting ways of thinking, we merely trudge out box ticking creativity.

Of course, this is not just a retail problem, creativity has been squeezed on every side. Less money + Less time = That’ll have to do.

It really is frustrating.

A few years ago, at D&AD judging, it stated “Good enough, is not good enough” the exact antitheses of where we are.

So, have we really run out of ideas?

Or has retail run out of ideas?

The ‘build it and they will come’ mentality has to change. Experience is key and there are many tools at our disposal that retail can use. AI and augmented reality are the new ‘buzz’ and I don’t think they are going away.

But new exciting ideas should not be constrained to the digital space. Where it becomes really interesting is in the space which connects the digital and physical. The ‘born digital’ brands such as Amazon are now encroaching on the high street, bringing with them a fresh approach, making the stalwarts of the high street look even more stale.

I loved the Zara concept store that showcased a curated selection of the new season lines. It was unapologetic, looked great and encouraged people to look at the brand again.

And, of course Apple Store, the original concept which redefined the shop, with its ‘alive’ technology and in-store workshops which are still going strong.

So, if Einstein stated that insanity was ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’ why don’t we do things differently?

Now that’s an idea.


Am I insane?

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