A bold approach is required nowadays to attract customers into brick-and-mortar shops. With the rise of online shopping, customers need to be incentivised to shop from a physical store instead of purchasing from the comfort of their own house. In this context, concept stores are emerging to offer more than mere commerce.
While there is no single form a concept store typically takes, in general it uses an explosive and radical store layout in order to offer a unique experience that appeal to a general sense of lifestyle, rather than simply offering a selection of standard products for purchase.
Even though the first concept store was opened in Milan back in 1990, over the past few years we’ve seen the resurgence of this approach. Concept stores have brought to the table the value of offering outstanding customer service, engaging and impactful product display, interactivity, digital technology, all this in order to capture the customer’s attention and offer them an unforgettable shopping experience.
Contrary to what is believed, not only luxury brands are embracing this trend. General Electric, for example, is currently working with New York concept store Story as part of an exercise to promote one of its products. Nestlé, on the other hand, aims to combine branding with direct-to-customer sales through its KitKat concept store in Japan.
We have gathered 5 remarkable examples of concept stores in Ireland to inspire you:
1.- Centra - Limerick
The concept of this shop is ‘Fast Fresh Kitchen’: good food the way you want it, quick. The design unifies Centra’s offer – which includes food for now, grocery top-up shop and newsagent – to create the ultimate convenience experience with a new focus on food. With the new store’s focus on healthy, fresh food-for-now, Centra has shifted from ‘convenience store’ to ‘convenient eating destination’.
2.- Brown Thomas - Dublin
Toronto firm Burdifilek explores luxury on a modern level with their design for the Brown Thomas Flagship Store in Dublin. Bringing a progressive sensibility to the luxury retail experience, Burdifilek combines exclusive custom furnishings, unexpected material choices, bold colour and form to conceptualize high end shopping for the 21st Century.
3.- Nowhere - Dublin
Nowhere is a retail venture that promotes a new and revolutionary approach to the masculine aesthetic: forward-looking, thoughtful and fun. Nowhere also stocks a unique assortment of books and magazines on masculinity vis-à-vis clothes, culture and art.
4.- Gallery 9 - Kildare
This boutique has rapidly established a name for itself as a purveyor of edgy and interesting labels. The store has a very simple concept “One should either be a work of art… or wear a work of art…” The aim of the shop is to provide a shopping experience which translates our love of design and our enthusiasm for this constantly evolving art form.
5.- [Made] – Dublin
[MADE] is a concept store curating the best collections from contemporary Irish designers and artists.
In a nutshell, unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, concept stores look to cultivate an experience that cannot be re-created online or by traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Not only its impressive layout attracts consumers, but also concept stores offer impeccable customer service where usually technology is used to create more interactivity.