To increase the attractiveness and international influence of the French capital, the Paris CCI (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) develops specific actions to help companies design and market a creative offering.

Creation, fashion and design are an iconic industry for Paris. While Paris has a great many talented graduates from prestigious design, architecture and fashion schools, paradoxically, the retail sector still makes relatively little use of that lever.

In 2012, the Paris CCI launched the Paris Shop & Design award to raise awareness and encourage retailers and merchants to harness the creative talents of design professionals when designing their retail outlets. This award also recognises ​​the most relevant initiatives by Parisian retailers. Free and open to all shops, local services, hotels and cafés/restaurants in Paris, the award recognises retailer and architect/designer duos that have collaborated on a project in the last three years (creation or renovation of a POS).

Until 29 April 2016, retailer and architect/designer duos can submit their entry on in one of eight categories: food, personal goods, household equipment, wellness/health/beauty, cafés/restaurants, hotels, personal services, culture and recreation.

New for this third year of the competition: the launch of a special “Digital experience” award.

Why this special “Digital experience” award?

Retail is changing; some specialist chains have disappeared, replaced by new ones that are more in line with modern lifestyles and consumption modes. Behind the concept of e-commerce lie rapidly changing realities. The emergence of “phygital” is as much about the opening of physical outlets by major e-commerce players as the digitalisation of all the “classic” retail brands.

Now that everyone can shop online, brands have to make the “encounter” with the brand in the physical world even more successful, rewarding and outstanding than before – otherwise, why should the customer bother making the journey? Faced with this virtualisation of interaction, the in-store shopping experience more than ever needs to create desire, humanise and differentiate through service. It is at this level that digital technologies can enrich the relationship with brands; the services provided can take many forms:

  • Creation of a digital clone to find out your size in various clothing brands (solutions like “Nettelo”, “Fittle”, etc.),
  • Geolocation and promotional offers near the customer
  • Building loyalty through electronic couponing for local businesses (“FunFid” solution)
  • Click & collect, to lead customers who have ordered online to the point of sale,
  • Buying cosmetics and treatments tailor-made in store (Huygens)
  • Detailed information about products that are picked up, using sensors built into the product and screens nearby (“Pick me up!” solution)
  • Personalisation of products at the point of sale (Nike, Adidas, etc.)
  • Jewellery ranges displayed online with computer generated images and further options available to select in store, with items made on demand (Gemmyo)

These are the service innovations made possible by digital technology that the Paris CCI wishes to highlight and reward.

Innovations and trends emerging from the Paris Shop & Design award applications

Going beyond these applications, which are sure to become commonplace soon, a few background trends are emerging that can be summed up as follows:

  • More than ever, shops are social spaces: this can take the form of a bar or food corner, even in non-food shops (Armani, La Trésorerie, etc.), or games tables (go, chess, ping-pong, etc. in bars); these social spaces alleviate the commercial pressure, humanise the brand and even recreate the idea of “living together”…
  • Bookshop-cafés, restaurant-delicatessens, children’s goods shops providing childminding services, delicatessens or wine cellars offering cookery lessons or tastings etc. These new places are developing “hybrid”, complementary offerings where you buy an “experience” as well as a product…
  • Last but not least, now more than ever, the service provided to the customer is central to the act of selling.

In conclusion, effective design for retail spaces is not so much a question of budget (H2O Pressing is proof of that) as one of consistency between the values ​​of the brand and their incorporation into a physical space, reflecting an obsession with the customer experience, which needs to be connected, sociable… and scalable of course!