Telecoms retail outlets - trends and innovation
Telecommunication is an industry, based on technology. It is, therefore, no surprise that customers expect telecommunication retail outlets to be innovative and full of cutting-edge design solutions. Here are a few trends that we have observed in telecom retail in 2015 and 2016.
A few industries change as quickly as telecom. And while in other verticals, like fashion, the collections change but the main merchandising principles stay the same for years, telecommunications may see a total revamp of the whole product line in just a few months. One day it can be all about tablets, then suddenly the smartphones are in the hype and then some new gadget takes over the market, demanding new displays and positions in the store. For store designers that means the necessity to create sets of fixtures that can be easily transformed to carry various types of merchandise. From another point of view - telecom retail outlets carry similar types of products across different store formats. At Campbellrigg, we look at this as an opportunity to help retailers save on equipment by designing modular fixture systems that can be used in all formats - from a shopping centre “island” to a flagship store.
Not just products
Each telecom brand is much more than just a provider of products and services - it is a medium of the customers' communication needs. In the connected society of today, communication affects every sphere of life. When designing telecom retail stores we think in terms of lifestyles, not singular products. From special zones, devoted to photography, sports, video or business to interactive displays that allow customers to create personalized combos of devices, applications and tariffs, we create environments that help retailers increase the value of each customer interaction by upselling and facilitating discovery. At the same time, telecom retail is becoming more and more about services and education. In creating store formats we devote special attention to zones of interaction with staff members, dedicated to providing advice and technical support.
Historically, telecom retail has always employed a slightly cold, technological image. Today the design trends demand a more natural look and feel that create a welcoming atmosphere and encourage the customers to stay longer (and spend more). This is achieved by supplementing techno-inspired designs, traditional for telecom, with natural materials, soft lighting and warm colours, associated with premium retail environments today. This trend is also expressed in creating recreational zones in flagship stores that encourage visitors to browse products and engage in exchanges with each other and store personnel.
Optimize through technology
As customers come to telecom stores for IT products, they expect store design to express cutting-edge technology. As store designers, we use this expectation to help retailers streamline their business processes. Interactive displays, if designed properly, create playful experiences for the customers, making self-service feel like an entertainment, not a chore. While customers can use in-store touch-points to ask basic questions, browse products and make purchases, the staff can be dedicated to more complex tasks.