Date: 31 March 2023
Author: Flannery Dejean
The Home and Living Industry enjoyed an unexpected boom after the global pandemic and successive lockdowns kept people indoors - and keen to spend big on improving their interiors. In fact, September 2020 saw US shoppers set a new record, spending $10.7 billion on home furnishings.
Since then, despite contending with shortages, disruptions, and a brewing housing recession the sector proved its resilience and still managed a 20-year high of more than $12.1 billion in April 2022 - and smart retailers will continue to enjoy growth in 2023 if they invest in key industry trends like shoppers’ growing interest in sustainable, earth-conscious brands.
Although shopping online is also clearly a lasting tendency, more than half of consumers still prefer to browse in-store. That’s why this week for our Retail Spotlight we’ve handpicked four stunning storefronts from future-focused vendors who have tapped into customers’ hearts and minds.
First up, Zara Home: the world’s largest fast fashion retailer’s home goods expansion launched in 2004 and has since taken the sector by storm, with stores in more than 70 markets worldwide. Deeply concerned with knowing and responding to customer preferences rather than just design trends, the brand aims “to contribute to the sustainable development of society and that of the environment with which we interact” and to deliver functional, beautiful goods made from durable materials. To celebrate the Grand Opening of their Zurich store in 2017 Zara Home worked with Wanda Barcelona, a dynamic art and design trio known for their large installations and luxury client list, to cover the entire facade with a dreamy ocean landscape inspired by the Coral Reef Spring Collection and made from 100% water resistant paper. We love the use of this medium rather than plastic in such an ephemeral display, and how the stark yet whimsical exhibit holds to the brand’s core values of beauty, clarity, and sustainability. Shoppers on the famed Bahnhofstrasse were immersed for a time, delighted and drawn in by the delicate framing.
For the first time ever in October 2018 entertainment giant Disney joined forces with a furniture brand - that of award-winning Filipino designer Kenneth Cobonpue - and tasked the latter with interpreting the Star Wars franchise through his innovative lens. The result? Functional art: the alliance of mass culture elements with natural materials and traditional craftsmanship to create furniture fit for a Sith Lord. To showcase the Philippine-exclusive #Woveninthestars collection KENNETHCOBONPUE’s Manila showroom was transformed into an eerie red Death Star-esque interior, complete with life-sized Storm Troopers and even a Wookie. Passers-by were enticed by the prospect of entering into one of the franchise’s famed battle scenes, of playing a part in that beloved universe. We appreciate this retailer’s clever combining of Star Wars emblems with KENNETHCOBONPUE’s own distinct industrial-meets-traditional aesthetic. The shopfront appeals to pop culture nostalgia to build an enduring connection with consumers while using dynamic movement and lighting to showcase the unique nature of the pieces on display.
To generate interest and buyer engagement ahead of opening its flagship store in India’s financial capital, the world’s most valuable furniture retail brand, Ikea, made the decision to deploy ‘Ikea on Wheels’ throughout the city in November 2019. Expanding their operations in India was part of Ikea’s desire to invest in the growing furniture market in the Asia-Pacific region - still growing in 2023 thanks to increased globalization, streamlined shipping options and an emerging middle class.
The two mobile display vehicles, vetted out in Ikea’s iconic blue and yellow, immersed visitors in functional, furnished rooms - similar to the famous interactive display rooms present in Ikea stores the world over. The themes for these traveling installations were Sustainable Kitchen Living, and Living with Children, and they incorporated pieces from the Festive Season collection. We admire the Swedish retailer’s innovation in taking their storefront to the streets. This is a great example of a multifaceted approach, which included an offer of engaging activities and personalized assistance from store experts, as well as a commitment to earth-conscious living (a key growing consumer interest in India), all while allowing guests to feel and experience the brand’s solutions for themselves.
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
To complete this week’s selection and complement the bigger box retailers, here’s a more indie offering: Hutch, a direct to consumer store in Omaha, Nebraska. Cashing in on consumer expectations for more personalized experiences and sustainable options, this retailer is all about mixing vintage and contemporary pieces from local, artisanal creators to establish a rustic mid-century modern look. With a focus on their local community and curated web presence Hutch’s window displays have amassed something of a following online and off, despite only changing once per season. We particularly enjoy this shop front from Spring 2016: a gorgeous golden-hued sofa artfully suspended in front of a wall of giant, handmade plywood honeycomb and surrounded by stylistic papier mâché bees. It’s a delicious, impactful display which sends a compelling message about the brand’s edgy, modern aesthetic and wholesome values - and all without using a single word.
This week we've witnessed how window displays can combine art and design with innovative materials to create an enduring impact and enhance the way customers experience a brand. Tailored, avant-garde showcasing solutions that keep in mind consumer preferences for sustainability have proved they can effectively promote products and speak to today’s audience.
If you’re interested in sprucing things up using a trusted retail service provider with 20 years industry experience, at Fusion we prioritize providing sustainable materials to our partners and aiding them in their efforts to make a better environmental impact.
Contact one of our retail experts via [email protected] and we’ll support you to exploit your brand’s creative potential: together let’s provide your clients with an enchanting, engaging and climate-engaged retail experience.