Innovation Overload
Owain Roberts in Innovation, Retail, Retail, Technology

Innovation is critical to retail. No matter what you’re selling.

During recent tough economic times, virtual connectivity and product information seem to have become the main focus for many retailers. These, more than any other, have been the vehicles through which brands have tripped over themselves to innovate. You just have to look at the newsfeeds and reports from retail trend analysts, bloggers and observers. There’s everything from restaurants listing their carbon footprint for each menu item to retailers using ‘social shopping’, geotagging and augmented reality... and there’s an app for everything in between.

But what about real experiences? Hands-on, phone-down ways in which to experience a brand seem to be getting left behind.

Virtual access to information and networks is of course valuable, and empowering, but to experience sound, taste, smell and sight is critical - these are innate senses that cannot be truly satisfied online.

As brands fight for custom from increasingly discerning consumers, creating emotional connection by seamlessly combining connectivity, information and an innovative, compelling environment has to be the way forward.

Image Source:, "Oops!" by Kyle May.

Owain Roberts is a Retail Design Director in Gensler’s Landon office. With a clear understanding that consumers see design as a single idea, not a series of separate elements he encourages a seamless relationship between graphic design and environmental design to create complete retail experiences. His broad range of experience in environmental design covers both retail and commercial interiors and also branding exercises for high profile projects. Contacted him at
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