Whenever I walk into a high street shop these days I’m struck by how busy the visuals are. It feels as if there are moving images everywhere. I might be biased, but it all feels too overwhelming to me. I like to shop in a calmer environment, where I can look around without being bombarded. At the same time I know that these trends happen for a reason. It got me wondering about retail design and what the arguments are for moving images vs stills.
Moving images in retail design
It’s common knowledge that customers are tired of hard sell marketing. We might know that a big brand doesn’t see us as individuals but we still want the personal touch. There are some major retailers using ‘immersive’ retail design to encourage customers to visit their physical shops. The growth of online shopping has made it more convenient for people to shop from their sofa. The view seems to be that if you want people to shop in person you need to make it worth their while. Video has the potential to be more evocative and emotional than still images. Some say it could even make customers feel more energised.
There’s also a practical reason behind the growth of in video in retail design. LED technology has developed over the last ten years and is now significantly cheaper. It means that retailers can now use huge screens in a cost effective way.
Creating an experience with stills
The retail design you choose depends on the feeling you want to create. I can see why retailers might want a high energy environment with lots of moving visuals if they’re serving a younger market. However, it’s not for everyone. There are also some reports from psychologists who are finding that young people are overwhelmed with the number of images they’re exposed to every day.
Immersive design is a great idea but I think there’s still a place for still images. Retail design isn’t just about the visuals. There have been experiments with using scent and the music you choose is important as well. A still image can be very calming. That could be the perfect fit for a customer who doesn’t like high street shopping because it’s too stressful. A still image, or even a collection of them, allow customers to absorb the information at their own pace.
Moving images vs stills
I can see why retailers are adopting moving images in their shops. Video has really taken off online. The received wisdom from Facebook is that if you want to be seen, you need to be using video. It was a logical next step for that to be adopted in retail design.
However, I still know plenty of people who avoid video on social media. They prefer to read, or look at pictures. Video is just too intrusive and noisy. I honestly can’t see those people warming to video in a retail environment either. They’re much more likely to stay at home and shop online.
As you can probably tell, my personal preference is for still images. I believe that you can still create a stunning design that will make customers feel welcome while still showcasing the brand.
If you’d like to know more about how you can use still images in your retail design, get in touch.
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