AuthENtIcIty IN ModErN dEsIGN

AuthENtIcIty IN ModErN dEsIGN



Text: Ms. Anita Broser Im ag e: Umdasch

Max Wöss (Head of Brand Strategy at ShopConsult by

Umdasch), Alfred Leitl (Head of Brand Design at Shop-

Consult by Umdasch) and Günther Berger (International

Sales Manager at Umdasch Shop-Concept, US focus)

on the latest trends in shop fitting.

Authenticity in

modern design

ACROSS: What are the new forms of

brand and product presentation?


Berger: There is a trend toward authenticity,

which means that brands are

trying to appear honest and authentic.

Customers are increasingly critical of

brands – what do they stand for, where

do the products come from, and how

are they made. Another issue is how

high a store's CO2 emissions are. These

things are becoming important in the U.S.

ACROSS: How is sustainability expressed

in shop design?

Berger: By using authentic materials,

recycled instead of plastic or artificially

produced materials with PVC.

Leitl: It is also common to see natural

elements returning to finishes – surfaces

that are oiled or sometimes untreated

instead of high-gloss. This creates some

small connection to nature for the

tactile perception.

ACROSS: Can this trend be seen in all

the industries?

Berger: It definitely works in all the

industries, although industries with lifestyle

character surely have an easier

time with it. For instance, Urban

Outfitters make their concept very

visible to customers.

ACROSS: Are things also moving more

toward minimalism than opulent


Berger: They don't rule each other out.

I can make opulent decoration with

simple, authentic materials, for example

by using old objects or antiques. The

approach depends heavily on the concept

and the brand. There is no trend

toward simplicity or opulence.

ACROSS: How does Europe compare to

North America in this regard?

Berger: Europe is surely still a bit

behind in this matter. The Americans

68 03 | 2010

03 | 2010




Text: Ms. Anita Broser Im ag e: Umdasch

say that the concepts that were modern here or still

store as though you were entering a club; you have to

blocks are optimally aligned with each other.

several brands in one shop. In the U.S. brands are

are – the very clinical, white high-gloss concepts – are

pass the doorman. It is a real ceremony. The question

Mounting a screen somewhere is not enough. Visual

created for certain customers. Brand stores are getting

dreadfully boring. Brands cannot be distinguished

is what is the concept behind it.

merchandising, light, scent, sound, and acoustics –

stronger, and traditional retailers are decreasing. It is

from one another. Perhaps this is a trend that an

Leitl: If it fits with the concept, open entrances are

all these things have to

not easy to develop a pro-

architect started one day in order to visualize his own

just as appropriate as closed ones. It always depends

harmonize with each

file when the competitors

design vocabulary, but not necessarily for a brand. I

on the brand and the brand message.

other in order to commu-

are professional brands. It

am pretty sure that this will also lose relevance here.

nicate a message that the

is important that custom-

ACROSS: What is the story with multimedia

customer will understand

ers perceive the brand

ACROSS: Does the design of the shop actually

in stores?

quickly. If the customer

with the right emotion.

change too?

Berger: I think this hype is already over, because

feels overwhelmed, he

The brand has to be

Leitl: That depends on where the shop is located.

customers feel overwhelmed. For many people, shop-

shuts down and walks

authentic. Anything that

Often there is a greater architectural concept and

ping is associated with stress, not just enjoyment.

out. Blindly surrendering

is overdone or inco her-

the stores have to fit into this. Sometimes there is a

Multimedia services increase stress. This is why archi-

to new technology is not

ent falls flat with the

strong resistance against stores going solo. In shop-

tecture and design are becoming more important

the right way either. It is


ping centers this concept is getting narrower, and

compared to multimedia tools. For example, in the

necessary to find the right

wöss: Being in line with

the mall area is getting more important. It's a different

U.S. Polo Ralph Lauren is trying out interactive dis-

balance and always keep

the target audience is

scene on shopping streets. There the regulations

play windows. When the store is closed you can still

the customer in focus. I

definitely the key to this.

mostly come from the building code.

shop in the virtual store through the interactive dis-

think one highlight per new

There are neuromarketing

play window and click through the offers available in

shop concept works well.

approaches that transcend

ACROSS: Then how can I draw customers into

the store. But this is separate from the shop expe-

Overdone effects scare off the

socio-demographic criteria and

my store?

rience itself. As part of the iD Studios, Nike lets you


primarily consider customers'

Berger: It is important that every brand, every store

design your own shoe with a computer in its shops.

personality traits. I can choose the

operator thinks about how to communicate its own

This multimedia offer works very well and is certainly

ACROSS: Are themed or staged envi-

appropriate theme with regard to the

message to the outside world. It doesn't matter

a trend, but only combined with the possibility to

ronments at the PoS an issue?

personality traits of the customers I want

whether it is through an open entrance, a display

individualize and personalize. Customers want to buy

wöss: It is an issue and is growing in signifi-

to reach. An example of this is that 50+ concepts

window, entrance lighting – there is a variety of tools.

individualized products.

cance. Shopping is entertainment. Key words like

with the 50+ stamp are surely doomed to fail. You

In the U.S. there are brands like Abercrombie & Fitch

wöss: I think multimedia will definitely continue to

experience and convenience are playing a greater

can't stigmatize, and if you do, you have to subtly

that consciously close their entrance. You enter the

be important. The great challenge here is digital

role. Retailers not only compete against each other,

in corporate elements that are useful for this group.

signage (see p.62) and how to present content at the

but also against different kinds of entertainment.

Everything that is practical and useful for them,

PoS. The big challenge is using the multimedia

Shopping is no longer about meeting demand; it is

screens. Digital signage offers the advantage of pro-

entertainment, which is why it is increasingly

viding the customers with information relatively

important to think in terms of staged, themed

quickly that used to have to be printed. This works

environments. Polo Ralph Lauren does this very

with large chains where there is a multiplier effect

well. In some stores the brand creates a living room

and the screens are centrally controlled. Smaller retail -

atmosphere and even hires extras to liven up the

ers often have blank screens, because they don't know

what they should be communicating.

Leitl: I always compare the store to a puzzle.

It is extremely important that the building


ACROSS: You have named several examples from

the U.S. Do these approaches work in Europe as

Max Wöss, Head of Brand

Strategy at ShopConsult

by Umdasch


Günther Berger (left), International Sales

Manager at Umdasch Shop Concept (US focus)

and Alfred Leitl (right), Head of Brand Design at

ShopConsult by Umdasch.

berger: All of this is possible in Europe; American

brands are successful here as well. This shows that the

concept also works here. Retail has different roots in

Europe. Here there are traditional dealers who sell

70 03 | 2010

03 | 2010




Text: Ms. Anita Broser Im ag e s: Umdasch

such as wider walkways or more places to sit, won't

be rejected by younger customers either.

ACROSS: Do shop concepts actually have an

expiration date?

berger: Yes. It used to be 7 years, then 5, then 3. In

general you can't nail it down in years, because good

brands reinvent themselves all the time and new

products are created. In a good branding concept

nothing is static. A good brand is constantly develop -

ing with the target customers and products.

leitl: The store fitter also has to come up with a

concept that can extend the expiration date. He is

called upon to develop flexible systems, so that the

The heart of the 200 sq m Moreboards store in the Kufstein

Galerien shopping center is a very authentic mix of materials.

Neither paint nor coatings were used, instead the furniture

and floor is made of untreated oak, racks are brushed steel

systems, and the shoe display wall is fiberglass, which is also

used to create boards. The entire store is set up with LED

lights. The personnel can control the color atmosphere of

individual walls and sections of the store directly through an

easy-to-use touch screen.

The German outdoor goods company, Globetrotter, demonstrates

how the multi channel strategy can be perfectly implemented. The

integration of impressive stores with print catalogues available at

every exit and the online shop that advertises the print catalogue

and prominently displays the stationary stores in detail is extremely

effective. The personnel are also consistently involved. The

international award winning flagship store is located in Cologne.

brand can continuously implement little modifications.

You have to create a stage for the customers upon

which ongoing changes can take place.

ACROSS: Are store-fitting concepts ever adapted

to a country?

Berger: It is more likely that there are differences in

the product line or services. In terms of design, it is

tremendously important for the brands to appear the

same in all countries. This way the brand is consistent

around the globe. If adjustments are made,

they are very subtle.

ACROSS: What are the biggest mistakes in store


wöss: The biggest mistake is not thinking about who

the shop is being made for in advance and how you

The multi label store, Swer,

in San Marino boasts trendy

fashion from leading brands.

Designer furniture not only

invites you to hang out in the

store, it is also for sale.

create a philosophy that is easy for the customers to


ACROSS: How much competition is there with

online sales, and how can stationary retail deal

with it?

wöss: You start to take a close look at multi channel

distribution. Stationary retail can't ignore this issue;

otherwise there will be problems. It's necessary to

want to be positioned on the market, but just plow-

create synergies between online trade and stationary

ing ahead. Then you discover that you do not appeal

retail and to think about how to cross-pollinate. A

to the right target group with your design and that

good example of that is Globetrotter in Cologne. The

you are not flexible with your design elements or

brand came from online trade and moved into

they are not modular. That means, if I open a second

stationary retail. There it can build trust and an

store, I have to start from zero again. Who is my

emotional connection, make the goods accessible to

target group, what is my USP, how do I want to

the custom ers, and offer added value.

position myself, and how can I translate that into a

design language – if I don't ask myself these questions,

ACROSS: But you can't do that with any shop...

mistakes might happen.

wöss: Definitely not. Globetrotter is not just any old

berger: It is important to send clear messages to the

shop. It is about optimally presenting brand contents

customers. The customers question brands and

and themes at the PoS without dying out in the

product lines. You have to have answers ready or

process. The brand has to remain attractive. ❖

72 03 | 2010

03 | 2010


More magazines by this user
Similar magazines