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Retail design, experience economy and the greying population: a European perspective

Book Contribution - Book Chapter Conference Contribution

Elderly people (often defined as people aged 65 years and older) are a rapidly growing segment of the current world population (UN, 2007). This demographic shift creates opportunities and challenges for designers, marketers and consumer researchers alike. However, there seems to be a lack of reliable knowledge concerning the needs and wants of this particular ‘grey market’ (Szmigin & Carrigan, 2001; Curch & Thomas, 2006). For a retailer, it is of growing importance to be on the same wavelength as their customer(s), not only to determine the functional needs of a retail store, but also to understand what appeals emotionally to customers. In the current ‘Experience Economy’, customers look for personal, intuitive relationships with brands and retailers, with which they feel allied with (Pine & Gilmore, 1999). Creating and directing experiences has become a means of communication as well as a possible differentiation strategy. Recently however, the concept of Pine & Gilmore’s ‘Experience Economy’ is being criticized. The present parameters for inducing memorable experiences are authenticity and originality. Design of retail environments should be directed towards values and creating appropriate ‘atmospheres’, since experiences are the new source for value creation for customers. This contribution aims to link the current issues of the ‘grey market’ with the growing discipline of Retail Design in general and the concept ‘Experience Economy’ in particular. Two successful European retail stores will illustrate how the design of retail stores can successfully be adapted to older customer’s needs and wants.
Book: Proceedings of the 8th European Academy of Design International Conference: the Robert Gordon University, 1-3 April, 2009
Pages: 342 - 346
Publication year:2009
Keywords:Retail design, experience economy, greying population