The Generation Shaping the Future of Sports Retail

22/10/19

The future of retail design

It’s been a whole year since 2D and 3D design interns, Jamie and Abigail, joined The Shopper Agency. During their time at the agency they really impressed us with their work on real projects in the retail marketing space while working together to complete their placement project.   

This year The Shopper Agency set a project aimed at sports retail with a specific focus on wellbeing. Their brief was to create an immersive sports and wellbeing store, inspiring people to use mental health awareness and fitness to live better.

By following The Shopper Agency’s ‘Head, Heart, Hands’ approach, Jamie and Abigail started their journey by discovering insight into the holistic retail market, the uniqueness of the sports retail space and their potential audiences. Then, through the ‘Heart’ approach, they turned their insights into triggers to develop a brand communication personality and channel-specific languages to provoke a positive reaction in shoppers. Finally, they got ‘Hands’ on to create an immersive physical retail space that motivated shoppers to purchase. Read on to find out what Jamie and Abigail presented as their final project to The Shopper Agency team.

Head

During the research, or 'Head' stage of the project, Jamie and Abigail discovered that the sports market was dominated by males aged 16-34. They identified an opportunity for an inclusive retail landscape that focused less on niche sports and more on wellbeing.

Other key takeaways that influenced their brand strategy were:

  • The wellbeing retail market is mostly based online and is in need of a store foothold.
  • Retailers possess a limited female retail space despite changing attitudes towards women’s sportswear; giving the brand an opportunity to serve this huge demographic.
  • Footwear remains the highest selling sportswear item which should be reflected within the store.
  • The concept stores should reflect a wellbeing nature as shopping can be a high intensity, stressful environment.
  • The lack of experiential treatment within sports retailers meant driving experiences to their shoppers.
Jamie Scanlon 3D Design Intern

"This brief was interesting yet challenging as sport and wellbeing were sectors that really didn’t have a lot of overlap in the retail world. Wellbeing doesn’t have much of a foothold in traditional retail whereas sport has such a strong identity. This made the project all the more interesting and challenging as it was really about creating something truly unique that we, as shoppers ourselves, would be happy to be a part of."

Heart

The Heart stage of the project allowed Jamie and Abigail to use their findings to make informed decisions about their brand identity and strategy. The vision was to challenge the way shoppers think about mind and body across all channels and blur the lines between male and female categorisation. From here, ‘SHAPE’ was born.

Aimed at a younger demographic, SHAPE’s mission was to bring together a generation who are shaping the future by defining the nature of mental health and fitness through an inclusive subculture called #SHAPENATION.

SHAPE was built upon three distinct pillars each focussing on a different in-store experience, inviting shoppers to ‘Enhance’ their body, ‘Recharge’ their minds and ‘Maintain’ their wellbeing. From these three pillars, Jamie and Abigail were able to create a brand and an identity that redefined the sports and wellbeing market. Well thought-out iconography was envisioned to drive a clear category definition and provided a more personalised experience. These three pillars were also the basis of their store design, creating distinct zones within the retail landscape. The branding was also used in their multichannel approach to create a mobile application and a website, all designed to enhance the shopper experience. Take a look at their branding below.

Abigail Lee 2D Graphic Design Intern

“I really enjoyed designing the branding for the store and all its multi-channel assets which has made me realise that it is something I would like to specialise in. Working with a 3D designer was a great opportunity because we were able to build the store in 3DS Max, something I would not usually get to do as a 2D designer.”

Hands

During the final stage of the project, everything that was developed and created from Head and Heart translated into the physical retail space.

Jamie and Abigail's vision was to create a store that had an urban and clean aesthetic with textures such as dark and light concrete, black wire mesh elements for a masculine touch and brighter coloured mesh to incorporate a more feminine feel. Neon abstract shapes give the space an artistic and interesting yet fun vibe; foliage walls break up the darker elements while adding vibrancy and life to the store.

For the in-store shopper journey, the three pillars were used to help navigate shoppers:

Enhance

The first category that shoppers see when entering the store is focused on enhancing the body through high-performance sports. It houses an AR mirror, video screens and a shoe personalisation experience. It is also the area in the store that displays sports equipment and male and female sports shoes.

Recharge

The middle section of the shop focuses on the wellbeing side of sports. It has a large zone for 'recharging' with relaxation pods designed as a resting zone from traditional retail where people can take a break from browsing the store. It also sells wellbeing products such as sleep remedies and skin care.

Maintain

Maintain focuses on lifestyle fitness and nutrition. Placed at the back of the store, it houses the checkout, fitting rooms as well as the in-store café called ‘Wellbeing bar’ that offers nutritional food as well as fitness advice. It also sells male and female clothing alongside nutritional food and drink products.

In the centre of the three shopper pillars; Enhance, Maintain and Recharge a touch screen 'diagnose' area was created to be used by shoppers to discover their needs and navigate them to the right area of the store.

After a year working at The Shopper Agency both Jamie and Abigail had the opportunity to work on this exciting project giving them the experience in a 'real life' working environment while allowing them to push themselves to create a full brand and store design concept. Here’s what they had to say about their internship at The Shopper Agency: 

Jamie - "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at The Shopper Agency, working on this brief has allowed me to develop skills I would never have learned at university. I have learned how to work as part of a creative team, responding to the pressures in a fast pace environment. I feel well prepared for my final year at university and eager to test these new skills and methodologies in the industry."

Abigail - “The opportunity to work in the industry has been fantastic because I have learned so much over the year about working with clients and working as part of a team, preparing me for life after University. I have really enjoyed my time at The Shopper Agency, especially working on our intern project and seeing it come to life. I would 100% recommend taking a placement year to all design students.”

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