Decoding Tomorrow:
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How Aesop Creates Unique And Compelling Customer Experiences

19 Apr 2016

The digitisation has changed the retail game forever. A lot of traditional bricks-and-mortar retail stores, including my moms 100-year old haberdashery, Georg Sörman, in Stockholm, Sweden, have faced serious challenges as more and more consumers do their shopping online. The good news however is that we still crave analogue experiences and maybe even more so in today's digital world. 

One of my favourite Australian brands is the skincare company Aesop. The brand was established in Melbourne back in 1987, but today they are global with physical retail stores in New York, London, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Paris and Tokyo to mention a few. 

Aesop's objective has always been to create skin, hair and body products of the highest quality. On their website they emphasize that they source their ingredients from the most renowned suppliers and regularly launch new producsts based on genuine needs expressed by their customers. Aesop is also known for their beuatiful yet minimal packaging design. 


Another reason why I'm so fond of Aesop is because of their ability to create great instore experiences. While many retail brands strive for consistency, Aesop focus on creating a unique atmosphere and look for every store - every store is inspired by the local culture, environment and location. This approach is central to their localised design strategy.

Last year in October they launched the microsite Taxonomy of Design which is a digital compendium of their signature shops. On the website you can read about which materials they use in the different shops, the furniture, lighting and watch a series of video interviews with architects and designers they have worked with. The idea for the project was a according to Fast Company borned after numerous customers had asked Aesop to publish a book about their creative retail spaces, but instead they decided to create a website.

Here is short description of their store in central Stockholm:

"Aesop Bibliotekstan is a place to reflect on the flawed perfection of nature. An immediately soothing environment, its subdued palette reveals its secrets to those who take the time to discover the strength of its proportions, lines and materials – a quiet exemplar of the region’s design process."



I believe that other bricks-and-mortar retailers can get inspired by Aesop and learn from their way of designing localised retail spaces and intimate customer experiences.  For more insights about the future of retail check out this blog post and YouTube video - What does the future of retail look like?

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