Today we talked to Javier López about the importance of creating a brand experience in retail.

Retail spaces provide a key opportunity to brands who want to develop a relevant experience for their customer. We know that the purchasing experience is crucial in achieving customer satisfaction and in building a relationship with the brand. Therefore, communication from brands at the point of sale must be handled properly in order to give the customer the experience that they demand and communicate the brand's messages effectively.

Javier López, Head of Visual Communication Solutions at HMY, has long-standing experience in helping our clients to conceptualize, design and execute retail spaces as a way to create memorable retail experiences. In this interview he gave us some tips for tackling the challenges that brands face in retail.

Do you think that communication at the point of sale can offer brands a differentiation opportunity?

Of course it can, and in fact, the ways in which brands communicate implies relevant differences between them.

Today everything is globalized, so a differentiating action or image becomes the key to leading the market and to any shopper or customer being able to identify you at any time or place. If a brand is not doing anything at the POP level, it is as if that brand does not exist, has no visibility, or is eclipsed by the brands that are making an effort to develop their image and promotional activities.

And when we are talking about POP, we mean any relative promotional action related to a brand with the purpose of highlighting a product through the use of a POP display, on a shelf, in a pop-up or at a launch event which needs to be done at the point of sale.

And when we are talking about POP, we mean any relative promotional action developed by a brand with the purpose of highlighting a product through the use of a POP display, on a shelf, in a pop-up or at a launch event which needs to be done at the point of sale.

What role does design play in POP communication?

Design is fundamental in POP communication, but design for function is no longer needed. Today we know that the customer is looking for an experience. And, as such, our designs must design this experience, including not only shapes, materials and colors, but also concepts, content, interaction, etc.  There is no use in designing a wonderful image, if it is not accompanied by other actions that complete the store experience.

What would you say are the keys to creating this purchasing experience?

In order to create a purchasing experience, we need to elicit surprise, attract attention and, above all, create pleasant sensations that make you want the product that is being offered to you.

Often a purchasing experience is something you do not seek out, but that you find and experience when you visit a commercial space. It is something that draws you in, surprises you and prompts you to see, try and experience the product or brand and, possibly, to buy it. In short, a "wow" factor!

What do you think the customer's main needs are in purchase areas?

The consumer must feel an attraction to the product or the need to acquire it, but it is difficult to achieve this if they are not adequately informed of its characteristics.

The need for information is one of the key points about today's customer who is also used to online environments where they have a lot of information. It is important that the purchase area also offers them this information.

For example, let's consider a customer who is searching for a wine for a special occasion, but who is not a big connoisseur of wine. This user needs to have enough information to be able to find what they are looking for.  It would be very helpful to explain the characteristics of each wine, say what it pairs with or recommend a recipe.

Another example could be purchasing running shoes, where customers search for features that explain to them why that model is perfect for them. It could also be interesting here for you to recommend nearby areas where they can practice their sport.

As an expert in the retail world, what would you say are the 3 "essential" aspects that all brand managers should look for when developing their brand's communication in retail spaces?

Attraction, clarity and simplicity.

Most customers decide based on which shopping experience they have felt most comfortable with and, for that, they need to have been attracted by the product or brand, (because of its message or the environment or signage that accompanies it) and in turn, they need to have found the information they need in a clear and simple way, without stress and without feeling lost.

And what do you think are the 3 "forbidden" aspects that should be considered?

First, false messages. If a customer feels cheated, they will never trust that establishment or brand again.  

Secondly, generalization. The consumer must feel adequately cared for.

And third, but not least, inaccessibility. Inaccessibility from the point of view of visibility, brand messages, information (especially posted prices) and customer care.   

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