Making Meaning In Retail Environments

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The creative re-use of preloved items within the world of interiors is indicative of a wider trend for remix style and resisting mass-production that has gained traction since the recession. 

This has also manifested itself in the handmade revival spawned by the economic downturn and the explosion in popularity of the online crafts marketplace, Etsy.com. 


Consumers are therefore increasingly seeking authentic homeware experiences, and valuing antique and handmade products for their meaningful narrative as well as their aesthetic. 

This search for artistic integrity in an era of mass production is an extension of the search for differentiation synonymous with the cult of the individual promulgated by social media.

Brands are seeking to capitalise on this impulse by employing visual merchandising and marketing techniques aimed at seducing consumers with eclectic displays of products that move away from traditional, regimented retail spaces. 

The introduction of these unique brand experiences into bricks-and-mortar stores marks a sensory approach to selling that imbues the process with an authenticity and enjoyment that is winning back customers from the ease of online shopping.


Big retailers are inviting consumers into immersive design environments that display a variety of products in one space, according to theme rather than function. This holistic approach to visual merchandising encourages consumers to consider the lifestyle they want to create for themselves, as opposed to selling them individual products as a means to an end. 

The push by brands to create a wider context for their products capitalises on the new thirst for visual storytelling and allows big brands to imitate a home environment within their four walls that gives the consumers the meaningful shopping experience they crave. 

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