To gain a greater understanding of design spaces and environments, we were asked to explore various retail environments. This was also to gain vital knowledge of target audiences, experiences, merchandising and the general design space as a whole. In my visit I went to two different stores that would display contrasting experiences to emphasize my findings. These were Topshop and Selfridges.
Target market was mostly a younger audience, but ranged from 12 – 35. Mostly female, due to the clothing that they stocked. Obviously Topman was different, but Topshop was a lot busier. The style of dress could be qualified as vibrant. A lot of bright, ‘stand-out’ colours. A combination of textures, patterns and loud colours in one outfit.
Overall the stall was quite loud, maybe directing at the younger audience. There was a DJ playing at the front of the store that was echoed throughout every store, giving that unique experience. Walking through the store there was lots of models wearing the clothing in most departments. They were huge murals which couldn’t be avoided, with bright colours as the background. The models were all young and attractive. There were a lot of rails; giving the feel they were trying to put out as many clothes as possible – pushing more sales. They seemed to go with the concept of loud/bold/more is better. Lots of mirrors, barely any places to sit down. The store architecture is quite easy to navigate around; lifts and huge signs directing the customer. There were technologies where you could order clothing online through an Ipad.
Target audience was more mature. Ages from around 23-60. The customers seemed to be a variation of genders, certain departments had more of one but it was rather mixed. The style of dress was a lot more high-fashion orientated, wearing branded clothes and expensive materials. Emphasizing a lot on the branding. Colour of clothing seemed to sometimes be subtle but then also very loud. The experience was a lot more professional. Seemed they had taken elements of an art exhibition. Had photographs and designers showcasing work as well as looking at the idea of wool an reusable fabrics. The colours were white and gold mostly, marble texture and a minimalist feel to the store. Avoided the idea of pushing clothing at the customers, whilst customer service seemed to be doing that. But in a professional way. Music was dedicated to each section; maybe they look at the target audience of each department and specify taste on that. The experience was a lot more interesting. Smells and visuals were beautiful and gives the feeling that you are in a place of high importance.
Comparing the two there are huge differences. This looks at the general target audiences and how the prices are reflected through the environment. Selfirdges is a very high-end store, in which have to follow the whole visual aesthetics; music, colours, material, feelings, overall experience. They want their customers to feel like they are in a high end shop. This also looks at age o the audience, as obviously high prices are less commonly affordable by the younger audience. It gives a lot more of a mature aesthetic to the company. Even uses Selfridges as a brand in general. Topshop is quite the opposite, it focues more on a younger audience so they follow codes and conventions that a younger audience would enjoy and find appealing. A DJ playing at the front playing chart music, murals filled with models and bright colours, and rails that display every size of every item. It almost in contrast gives the impression that Topshop is no way near the quality of Selfridges in terms of the identity it creates within itself of the experience you achieve within the store.