The “market” forces shaping retail experience

Blame it on Chanel and its Autumn/Winter 2014 fashion show, overdosed and high on the very vitamin supplements that could have been taken from the aisles of its supermarket runway concept, markets have become a relevant theme and concept in retail experience. You only need to look at two retail installations in Paris right now to know if you’re not peddling the market, you’re missing the market action.

Le Bon Marche introduced a Marni market pop up selling limited edition merchandise from the luxury fashion label, items that possess a market sensibility and functionality. The entire pop up area, with its minimalist market cart is so pretty with flowers and filled with patterns, prints and colour, Le Bon Marche has truly created a mini destination within their store, not surprising as they’re the original grand masters of destination shopping. Most covetable of the merchandise are these colourful plastic mesh market shopping bags. Market forces driving demand, literally.

Marni X Le Bon Marche Market  stall cart installation pop up

Le Bon Marche X Marni pop up market stall cart cabas

To Le Marais in Paris, Concept store Merci took a less designer execution that still packs in all the freshness of the market concept. Right in the foyer, a pop up installation with utilitarian trays, colourful vegetable crates filled with the most household of items, even vegetable peelers greet you upon your entry.

You cannot help feeling cleansed and detoxed with all that green surrounding the space; from the vertical garden by the stairs to the vegies and cold hand-pressed  juices that come from the Perche region (which are for sale, they’re not just props), to enhance the crisp and clean experience.

Merci Paris front foyer urban market installation

Merci Paris Urban-Market FrenchDetox installation

The above examples illustrate how a conceptually and visually strong retail experience can enhance and transform the perception of brands and products, no matter how high end or mundane they are. They also sum up the reason why we take our marketing cues from these European retail leaders and not from our Asian or even Australian retail counterparts.

Retail can be exciting, to appeal to the intellect and the senses. Even the most mundane of shopping experiences, the supermarket, can be repurposed and reinvigorated. Retailers that are struggling are those who haven’t got the talented people to pull off such maneuvers (and pull in foot traffic and profits). They await a fate of being left on the shelf, counting the days to their expiration date.

Pictures courtesy of Le Bon Marche and Merci Paris from

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