Consumer preferences are changing rapidly – what we’re seeing now is a movement towards middle-segment products that are well-made and well-designed, but aren’t as expensive as luxury goods.
Thanks to the abundance of information online, consumers are growing better educated about their purchase decisions. This increased knowledge means customers prioritise brands and products that deliver quality at an affordable price. As retailers, it’s on us to think beyond just putting items on a shelf and to curate a selection of things that speak to different customers.
In Singapore, where we have many international brands, local retailers need to think hard about innovating their in-house retail experience. One homegrown brand that’s doing a great job of this is Bynd Artisan. They have created an in-atelier experience that’s not easily replicated: from the smell of the leather to the tactile feel of the products to the customisation process, it’s really the small things that make a curated retail experience different from shopping from behind a computer screen.
On a global scale, Starbucks Reserve Roastery is a great example of how an everyday necessity has elevated itself to include a premium option. They have been clever to open in select locations (New York, Tokyo, Milan, Seattle and Shanghai) and in designing spaces that feel premium. Everything – from the spacious design to the speciality baked goods – are in-store experiences that give the customer not just a feel of what Starbucks is about but what it promises: good coffee in an enviable lifestyle setting.
Aside from the brands we bring in, the curation aspect is also crucial. This became clear to us when we did the Naiise pop-up at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London, in 2017. Our landlord really drilled down to the details, wanting to know everything from what our retail concept stood for to identifying the different pockets of space in-store and asking critical questions about day-to-day business operations. For us, this deep dive drove home the importance of creating a unique retail proposition – one that brings real value to every square inch of space.
“As retailers, it’s on us to think beyond just putting items on a shelf”
All of this is something we’re now doing with Design Orchard. While it’s currently a showcase of 60 local brands, we plan to grow the offering to 80 distinct labels. There’s an open public area that offers a great view of Orchard Road, and we host regular events in-house.
Ultimately, Design Orchard offers a unique retail experience, which will make for a compelling reason for both locals and visitors to come down to Orchard Road and experience it for themselves.
Illustrations by Stuart Patience
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This article was originally published in the June 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine