Publication: Furniture World Magazine

Retail Must Reinvent Itself Amid ‘Always-On’ Trend, Bona Says

March 14, 2014

Veteran store designer’s EuroShop presentation highlights the need for stores to emotionally connect with shoppers by creating unforgettable experiences.

Reinvention has been part of retail at least since the days of ancient Rome. But as technology transforms multi-channel retail into hyper-channel, “always-on” retailing, chains must emotionally connect with consumers as never before, advised veteran store designer Joseph Bona during a Feb. 19 speech at EuroShop, the global trade fair.

“Emotion plus theatrics equals experience,” said Bona, President, Branded Environments for CBX, the New York City-based brand agency and retail design consultancy. “Storytelling ability, in particular, helps you create engaging experiences, and the memory of those experiences can inspire consumers by adding excitement and drama to routine transactions. Ultimately, this is what energizes brand culture and drives long-term customer loyalty, even in a world perpetually driven to digital distraction.”

Bona’s presentation—“Format Reinvention: the Changing Face of Retail”—highlighted the need for retailers to further rethink the function of their brick-and-mortar stores. Today’s “always on” environment doesn’t only mean that people can buy whatever they want using their phones and tablets—it also means they can use GPS- and cloud-enabled tools to find the very best retail and dining experiences available to them, wherever […]

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Need For Socially Relevant Stores

June 14, 2013

WHEN RETAIL IS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE, WHEN WE CAN BUY VIRTUALLY ANYTHING OFF OUR PHONES AND HAVE IT DELIVERED, WHY GO TO A STORE? Pessimistic pundits claim that “show-rooming” and the explosive growth of ecommerce will be the death of brick-and-mortar retail. But by drawing inspiration from the kinds of social experiences Americans crave—live-action football games, rousing concerts, moving religious services and the like—retailers stand to reap big profits even as they prove the pundits wrong, writes Crosby Renwick, executive director of strategy at brand agency and retail design consultancy CBX, in a May 30 column published at Chain Store Age Online.

“Is retail really dead?” Renwick asks in the piece. “No, but its role is changing.” The veteran CBX strategist begins the column—titled “‘Social Retail’ to the Rescue”—by outlining the basic problem as just about everyone sees it: “When retail is literally everywhere, when we can buy virtually anything off our phones and have it delivered, why go to a store?” he writes.

But while Renwick concedes that many stores will close in the decades to come—particularly those focused on commoditized goods that shoppers can easily buy online—he describes the rise of ecommerce as an opportunity for retail to refocus. […]

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