Photography: © Michael Moran

Earlier this month, Shawmut attended and spoke at the International Retail Design Conference (IRDC) in Boston. We even had a first-time IRDC attendee who provided a fresh perspective to the conference. Here are some of her key takeaways.

It was motivating to hear the different opinions on design, collaboration, technology, and the power of people from industry leaders. We gained insight on evolving trends, strategies for engaging shoppers, and left with a renewed sense of passion.

The keynote from Johnny Cupcakes, the “World’s First T-Shirt Bakery,” appropriately focused on the power of branding. Customer attention spans are short, and they buy from companies they trust, so brands must figure out what makes them unique and tell that story authentically—through employees, customer service, and store design.

It remains true that customers still want the expertise and personalized experience from store staff. Strong connections made in-store drive higher sales, stronger loyalty, and more opportunity to tell a brand’s story. Creating immersive experiences through technology is still imperative to success, but the human connection is a major piece of providing superior client service.  

Shawmut’s case study on the new Forty Five Ten store at Hudson Yards presented the importance of collaboration. By partnering with Forty Five Ten, 5G Studio Collaborative, and Snarkitecture at the beginning of the project, the store was completed on time, and with the right aesthetic and innovative impact. Planning ahead allowed each team to bring in key experts for specific parts of the job, matching skillsets directly with challenges. This level of client service, teamwork, and passion among teams is what drives great outcomes—whether it is a store’s design and construction or strategies to increase sales and brand loyalty.