Retail is renowned for adopting advanced methods to attract, retain and engage with customers in an ever more competitive marketplace. The continued rise of online shopping has only exacerbated the importance of utilising physical retail space to maximise engagement, create unique experiences and influence the behaviours of the customers within it.
Sound like a familiar challenge? It should do, as this challenge faced by retail stores in the latter part of last century and the early 00’s draws far too many similarities to the one facing many businesses today, who are looking to re-engage our workforce in a rapidly changing social and technological environment.
“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.” – Gina Greenlee
Although each business will face unique challenges when designing their ideal office space, it can be a great idea to draw on the experiences, skills and principles of retail design to further enhance the experience of your customers (or in this case your employees). We’re going to look at a number of retail design techniques that you can incorporate to transform your space into a fully immersive, engaging and functional office environment.
A striking window display, or a particularly enticing product exhibit, are often the first point of contact with a retail customer and can often be the difference between someone wanting to see more or walking on by. The same can be said for your office space and the need to visually capture the attention of your employees and begin their ‘working day journey’ with a renewed sense of brand identity and shared enthusiasm for your company. Putting your company brand and values on clear visual display within prominent strategic positions can be a fantastic way of creating a customer/employee journey that lasts throughout the working day and beyond.
Create an ever-evolving experience
Both retail consumers and employees are extremely busy. This lack of time can lead to staleness and lethargy, as they hurriedly ‘tick the boxes’ in an almost robotic fashion, whether at work or when shopping.
To avoid this fatigue, retail experts ensure that their stores are forever evolving their layouts, updating their displays and subtly creating ‘product links’ that put up-sells of related products in your direct eye-line, encouraging you to consider and buy new/more products.
Similarly, in an office environment, there is a need for a dynamic, ever-evolving office that can be adjusted and improved to inspire and engage your staff. We are heavily influenced by our surroundings, does your office design promote the kind of creativity and innovation you want from your teams, or is it lacklustre and uninspiring?
Mark out the customer pathways
Whether the retailer wants you to meander slowly through the aisles as if blindly journeying through a product based labyrinth, or heading towards your buying destination with the certainty of a laser guided missile, the journey you take within a retail store has probably been strategically planned and painstakingly modelled to create the buying experience they want to portray.
The same can be said for effective office design and once we decide on the kind of ‘customer’ pathway we wish our employees to take within the office we can make the right decisions to enhance that experience. For example, if you are looking for a highly engaged and co-dependent office space, walkways can intertwine with workspaces so that the coffee round becomes an instant opportunity for inter-departmental connection.
Alternatively, if you value efficiency and departmental productivity, you may want to create a floor-space where the only opportunity for interaction is within common zones and each department can fully isolate and focus on its individual task.
Technology driving innovation
Retailers have been light-years ahead of other industries in their use of technology and data, to steer their decision-making processes and promote consumer engagement, in and out of their physical spaces. Whether it is the convenience of self-serve checkouts maximising space and therefore speed of consumer checkout experience, or the introduction of contactless shopping and augmented realities, the ability of retailers to utilise technology to further enhance the customer journey is a very useful experience to take into the future of office design.
Likewise, through technology you can further develop the experiences within your office. You might track the movements of your employees throughout your office to identify heavy footfall areas, congregation spaces and/or ‘dead zones’ and adjust accordingly. Or enhance the physical wellbeing of employees with ‘zero-touch’ office machinery, monitor air quality, improve connectivity and encourage sustainability.
As you can see, there’s more to office design than just desks and chairs. To find out how to create the perfect customer journey for your employees, do get in touch with our office design experts today.