Swarm Reimagines Retail - Weekly Picks, 24th August

What’s behind Next’s bold bet on beauty halls?

The news about Next Plc’s investment in creating dedicated cosmetics and beauty halls in five ex-Debenhams department stores - including vast sites such as Bullring & Grand Central, Birmingham, and Highcross, Leicester - has provided confidence in the beauty industry’s in-store experience which has had to pivot to survive during the pandemic. Next will bring their online beauty business to life in new bricks-and-mortar experiences as soon as it’s safe to do so across their newly acquired UK sites. 
Twinings’ flagship store redesigns to focus on innovation and wellness

Creative design agency, Dalziel & Pow has redesigned Twinings’ flagship store to reimagine the traditional retail store to an experience-led journey, based on wellness and lifestyle. The new store design features four touchpoints called “Moments of Curiosity” which punctuate the customer journey and use a variety of interactive displays and visuals to encourage the customer on the retail brand journey through the shop. We love how this new retail concept provides customers with rich, brand stories to take away depending on their unique journey. 
M&S opens new clothing and food store with digital focus

As part of M&S’s Never the Same Again programme launched in May this year, they’re well underway with transforming their store portfolio to better serve customers how and where they want to be served. Their newest store in Nottingham is digitally connected and seamlessly integrated with the online journey for those who shop online and collect in-store. The M&S app is fully integrated with the in-store experience and offers Mobile Pay Go, the retailer’s checkout-free technology.
Five Ways to Reimagine ‘IRL’ Brand Experiences in the Covid-19 Era

Whilst attempting to provide a balanced selection of insights and avoid the overwhelming amount of Covid content available online, this article from Imagination Global's head of connected experiences, Christophe Castagnera provides some great insights into how physical brand experiences can pivot to not only survive our new patterns of behaviour, but offer better, more thoughtful experiences and, in turn, more value for brands and their customers.
Brick-and-Mortar Rethink: 5 Areas to Reconsider

In the same vein as the above, this article from the founder of The Lionesque Group, Melissa Gonzalez, highlights how brick-and-mortar retailers can adapt to create efficiencies and brand environments that increase safety and maintain quality of experience for the customers they serve. Many modifications to the retail experience will define store layout and store design decisions made for both now and in the future. While physical environments drive human connection, stores will need to be optimised to be experiential in a different way, combining the physical and digital worlds.

Image Credit: Carl Raw