The basic attitude in business has always been that an office, retail space, or any space where you are receiving customers should make everyone feel good when they enter. Then one by one, the most high-end business sectors started to break with this tradition. Financial institutions, the fashion world, car showrooms, and so on: all are examples of places where, in some cases, the ordinary person feels distinctly uncomfortable when they enter. Or they would feel that way, but they avoid such places. It is a decades-old trend that will experience a major renaissance in 2022’s reinvigorated market. Where it’s all about making the target customer feel good about shopping, even if it has a distinctly negative impact on other, non-targeted people. And this expectation will require selective interior design and execution based on a predetermined strategy.
The other side
It is clear that there are at least two sides to every approach, so it would be unprofessional to focus only on affluent customers. Indeed, the crisis has severely damaged the spending capacity of many middle-class households or those below them (in terms of ability to pay). In the aftermath of the pandemic, shoppers have been very slow and cautious in venturing out to buy, and this is evident in all areas of business. The focus must be on the atmosphere itself, on the shop itself, to be able to attract this hard-to-drive demand, and there are professional ways of doing this. We have long since moved beyond simply creating beautiful or trendy shops; in the future, much more emphasis will be placed on the extent to which a space can convey confidence to customers. Confidence that they dare to spend with self-assurance. Functionality, colours, modern ideas, and complete design are all key elements in the design of the space. But it’s also clear that the retailer’s targeting message needs to be taken into account at the strategic design stage, so that the use of colour or flourish doesn’t put off customers. “On a strategic level, from a design perspective, there is perhaps surprisingly little difference between targeting upper-end households and those struggling to get out of the recession. The bottom line is that the basic motifs need to be incorporated into the designs by professionals at the strategic planning stage; otherwise, the execution and implementation will surely go awry. To do this, of course, we need to have a perfect understanding of what the particular target group identified by our client has been going through mentally in terms of solvency, and be able to translate this into the language of our own profession. What material should we use? Wood, metal, or something else? What expressions should we use, and how prominent should the company brand be? These are all questions that result from defining a target group. It is important for our company that this strategic work should now be a bit separate from the traditional process, because practicality is important but should not influence the design. It has become a specialised profession in the last two years, and I see that in our profession, those who can meet these expectations can survive and thrive. For this, it is important that the firm is two-sided, with one side representing strategy and the other operational implementation. Today it is no longer enough to be a good designer who is very in touch with the client about their needs. You also have to understand design trends and their mental impact; otherwise, even the best design will go wrong and result in a drop in revenue. And we cannot afford that if we want to maintain long-term partnerships”, analysed Gergő Nidermayer, CEO of ENDORIENCE.
It is clear that we have to prepare for a lot of changes in the different markets after the pandemic. Buying and spending money will always be important for people, and we know very well that for many people, it is a kind of recreation; for others, it is a reward for their hard work. That is why they want to spend their money in a setting that is inspiring and motivating for them. Of course, we also have to be aware that what brings these expectations for one group in society will provoke a reaction from the opposite pole of society. And this is something we have to take into account when designing our customer space!