According to the Centre for Retail Research “in Europe as a whole, online retailers in 2015 are expanding 14.2 times faster than conventional outlets, creating major strategic issues for store-based retailers.” So what will stores have to offer to tempt customers back onto the high street in 2015?

Since the recession hit, the bricks and mortar retail environment has had to evolve and redefine itself, as customers have reduced their spending, seeking out better bargains via the internet and mobile devices. Shops have been forced to reimagine their approach to everything, from customer journey to customer service and right through to store point of sale (POS) and experiential installations.

We have been championing innovation and forward-thinking in this space for some time – exploring how design can dovetail new digital technology to deliver a better and more enriched customer experience in stores. But we’ve often hit a brick wall when it comes to getting the green light from clients, as the digital infrastructure even within the large superstores, was not historically robust enough to deliver reliable solutions. It’s only now that these latent networks seem to have caught up with demand and clients are beginning to commission concepts around digital POS and augmented reality (AR) in store to try to gain better value from the shop floor space, while simultaneously giving their customers a more immersive shopping experience.

In light of this week’s Digital Bristol Week 2015 it seems we’re not only in the right place with the right resources at our finger tips, but have the opportunity to collaborate with the forerunners within the industry. Bristol has built up a reputation for being a Creative and Digital Design centre of excellence. We are proud to be at the heart of this leading sector, and are excited to finally get to apply these new technologies through our marketing activity.

It has been suggested that in the not so distant future we will be more likely to engage with technology and POS if it is tactile or wearable so perhaps this is a hint as to what high street stores might start to address in 2015?

Certainly, we are looking at tactile and interactive POS solutions for a retail store we are currently designing for a client – and it’s this cross over of technology, beautiful design and customer experience that we feel really passionate about.

As the high street increasingly becomes more of an experiential destination where brands are marketed, while an increasing market share units trade online, technology to link these two spaces is key. So it’s an obvious and natural progression for us to deliver store POS that utilises and compliments that proposition, melding brand experience, with enriched product information, share-ability and a healthy dose of fun.

My advice to you? If you haven’t already done so, download a good AR app, like Layar or SayDuck this year, and get ready to experience retail in a whole new way.

BY KAT