The Evolution of Retail: Enhancing the Customer Journey


Taking urban retail into the future

The headlines are dire. Retailers are worried. Physical shops are closing down. Consumers are seduced by quick, easy, and cheap solutions that are often negative to profit margins, growth and the environment. But is the era of city retail really dead?

That need not be the case. The customer journeys don’t have to be limited to the online ecosystem. Using an innovative mind to direct customers to physical stores is just as important. The future of retail is bright for forward-thinking brands that are willing to embrace new ways of doing business.


A new dimension of pop-up stores

The concept of pop-up stores has been with us for quite a while now and the advantages are many. The brand gets more flexibility, can offer their customers a unique experience and capitalize on this buzzy concept. Pop-ups can also create a sense of novelty and exclusivity as they are temporary. However, it is not the innovation of pop-up stores itself that is the prominent thing but rather the execution of it.

Alexander Wang x Adidas Originals collaboration, for example, created a buzz by combining social media with an innovative pop-up concept: a pop-up truck going from New York to London to Tokyo. Fans followed the pop-up mobile store on the Adidas Originals Snapchat and inside was the exclusive capsule collection.

Another example was the launch of Chanel’s “Red Coco” where they created the “Coco Game Club” in Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Combining the pop-up concept with virtual games around lip products, beauty and an electric atmosphere with DJ’s and influencers was a true success.

In Malmö, a micro-department store that embrace new ways of doing business recently opened, Beyond Us – the urban market. It combines pop-up sales with a new dimension of unique brands and workspace for rent. Furthermore, it has an insta-zone, coffee shop, a click and collect service with relaxed fitting rooms, so that you can try what you have ordered on arrival. This concept takes a full grip of the customer journey and make it personal and inspirational.


The new retail landscape – context and personalization

The key to getting ahead in the retail buzz is to meet the customers where they interact with the brand and explore how this interaction works. The days of broadcasting a marketing message to one monolithic group of customers have passed. Each customer is different and should be offered contextual interactions that are personalized to their particular situation. Our lives online, mirrors our real lives. Technology has allowed marketers to craft messages on a one-to-one basis between their brand, a single shopper and where they are in their customer journey. Context and personalization form a powerful tool to build strong customer attraction for brands and fulfil the enhanced customer journey consumers are seeking.

Trends shaping the future

Stores will still serve its purpose, but their prime function will be the customer experience and personalization. Tedious tasks, like logistics, will become more and more automated and simplified, but we have to keep in mind that the five human senses can only be stimulated in store. We predict following three trends that will shape retail in 2020:

1. The development of responsible consumption and sustainability.
2. Hybrid businesses, where physical and digital experience are combined
3. New ways of marketing and interacting with the customers, for example via Messenger and other chat based social media platforms that personalize the costumer journey.

At the end of the day, it is innovation and agility that we’re after and need to strive for. Innovation that is not only digital, functional, or creative – but, a combination of all three that bonds us together and allows growth.


Brands transforming the image of Sweden

During summertime we tend to meet people that encounter Sweden for the first time and are curious on “typical Swedish things”. First that comes to mind may be Swedish corporations like IKEA, Volvo and H&M that undeniably made a significant international splash together with superstars like Zlatan and ABBA. But below the surface there is much more to be said about Sweden’s creative landscape. We decided to shine a light on Swedish brands that might not be the most the typical respond. Let’s take a look at some really exciting brands influencing the image of Sweden.


The oat drink Oatly is changing consumption patterns in urban cities. It was founded back in the 1990s and is based on Swedish research from Lund University. The company’s patented enzyme technology copies nature’s own process and turns fiber rich oats into nutritional liquid food that is perfectly designed for humans. Today, the Swedish company remains independent and dedicated to upgrading the lives of individuals and the general well being of the planet through a lineup of original oat drinks. Oatly has positioned themselves as an independent, funny, provocative and sympathetic alternative for diary products which has been a true success.


Fjällräven – Kånken

Kånken is growing its position as the urban backpack. With the Swedish mantra in mind, “Straight backs are happy backs,” Fjällräven created the first Kånken in 1978 to spare the backs of school children, as back problems had begun to appear in increasingly younger age groups. Simple, stylish and functional, the Kånken backpack soon became a common sight in schools around the country, quickly spreading to cities around the world as an iconic Swedish export. Take a look at the most recent competition and hashtag #kankenart for some beautiful personalised Kånken made by its bearers.



Spotify has totally redefined the music industry and transformed music listening forever when it launched in Sweden in 2008. Today Spotify is the most popular global audio streaming subscription service with 232m users, including 108m subscribers, across 79 markets. Spotify is the largest driver of revenue to the music business. They have sure managed to provide a legal online music streaming services as an alternative to pirated music file-sharing sites.



Hövding is the world’s first airbag for urban cyclists and it breaks new ground in cities around the world. It all started with the insight: “Why force people to wear something they don’t like? There must be another way”. The resulting innovation was the collarworn; Hövding (meaning ’Chief’ in Swedish). Through the advanced sensors and unique algorithm Hövding detects the cyclist’s movement patterns and reacts and inflates in 0,1 second in case of an accident. The specialized airbag inflates to cover your head and fixates the neck to provide you with the best protection on the market, up to 8 times better than a traditional helmet. The headoffice is actually not far from ours, in Malmö, Sweden.

Sweden sure is creative and filled with passionate thinkers and exciting brands that stretch beyond its most famous brands, and the list can definitely be made longer.What brands are typically Swedish for you?


Milan Design Week – Design’s sustainable solutions

During this year’s Milan Design Week over 386,000 visitors packed into the Salone del Mobile. In the city, there were more. Creatives and design aficionados from around the globe filled the streets during the world’s biggest annual design event.

The subject that has dominated Milan Design Week in recent years is undoubtedly sustainability. Environmental impact was the overriding feature among designers and brands from around the globe, but the highlight of the week was the fantastic Broken Nature exhibition at the Triennale di Milano, curated by MoMA’s Paola Antonelli. It highlighted the concept of restorative design in an effort to fix some of the destruction of the natural world caused by humans. From the Capsula Mundi, a beautifully poetic approach to death, to insect architecture and marine cleansing solutions created from wool destined for landfill, it presented just innovative and rediscovered solutions that could literally, make a world of difference.

Elsewhere, organic new materials and plastic recycling initiatives were just some of the ways that the design world is trying to reduce our impact.


Estrima, in collaboration with Mandalaki Studio, presented Birò 02, “the first electric concept car made with 80% recycled plastics.”


As part of the Broken Nature exhibition, Aki Inomata recreated the shell of the prehistoric ammonite out of resin using 3D scanning and printing techniques, and placed it in an aquarium with a small octopus to explore the evolutionary knowledge of the species.


Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped pod made of biodegradable material, containing the bodies or ashes of the dead. A tree, planted on top, serves as a memorial, while the egg is buried as a seed, in the earth. This cultural and broad-based project addresses death and burial in a poetic way and aims to convert graveyards into forests.


The Newsroom Office by StorageMilano. Four design studios converted rooms within the offices of Vogue Italia. The Newsroom highlighted the continued trend for soft pink, rose gold and gold tones, as well as a resurgence in the Art Deco style.


Art deco style meets 80s aesthetics at Armani Casa.


Going Organic

Fluid forms and organic hues herald a soft creative mood
Spring is here. After the bleakness of winter, the sunlight has returned and colours begin to pop out around us.  Although the cycle of graphic design trends extend beyond the seasons, a softer, more colourful creative direction has caught our eye. Organic shapes, soft pastels and simple fluid forms are bringing a softer edge to logos and graphic identities. From The Branding Collective’s minimal, Japanese inspired business cards for Life Goes On to Everland’s graphical concept for Danone’s new water brand, Blüm.

Colours also manipulate photography in the form of colour filters. They add a fantasy element and offer a striking contrast on a dark background, as seen in our recent Sony campaigns.

These directions lend themselves to the overriding creative trend for Instagram worthy imagery that applies to everything from products and packaging, to interior design and architecture.

Going graphic in 2019

As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time to look ahead to next year’s design trends. How will brands look, identify themselves and communicate in 2019? We took a look at some of the upcoming themes.

Web design

The biggest driver in web design is interaction. Websites are no longer just a storefront or information board. As brands vie for attention and engagement in a crowded marketplace, websites must be eye-catching, interactive and more pertinently, inclusive. Video content is replacing still images as a way of attracting and connecting with visitors. Layout is also changing. As smartphone traffic surpasses tablet and computer viewing, web design must be compatible with different formats. As a result, to accommodate thumb scrolling, navigation tools are moving south.


The rise of authenticity and storytelling has also had a visual impact as both original and new heritage logos create a sense of history. Styles vary from minimal and negative space, to ornate and detailed. Distortion and playing with perspectives are also some of the ways that brands are bringing life to logos.


From vintage mid-century modern, to 3D design and typography, anything goes as long as its on-brand. With eye-popping colour palettes and compositions in rendering, graphic design has never been so creative or exciting. Retro is a major source of inspiration, from the glamour of Art Deco, to hints of 60s psychedelia in the form of duotones and gradients. Colour, of course, plays a major role, as a theme, accent or even a brand identity.

To read more about these and other trends, visit:


Berlin in photos

Adentity recently visited European Month of Photography in Berlin. The biennale, which takes place simultaneously in various cities throughout Europe, is Germany’s largest photo festival and attracts museums, cultural institutions, galleries and photographers from around the world.

Throughout the month of October, more than 100 venues around the capital treat the public to a full program of exhibitions and events. This is a chance to see work from some of the stars and emerging talent of the 20th and 21st century, from Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon and Cindy Sherman, to Elmgreen & Dragset and Philip Lorca di Corcia.

We visited a number of fantastic exhibitions, including PACK, which features portraits from Berlin’s Techno scene taken by Sven Marquardt, the notorious bouncer of the city’s most famous nightclub, Berghain. As a bouncer, Sven had access to some of the most famous German and international artists, so in 2005 he took his first musician portrait of Manuel Göttsching, a pioneer of electronic/conceptual sounds. This was the beginning of a parallel career that has taken his name beyond Berlin’s club scene, to the international art scene as a celebrated photographer.

The Galerie Pugliese Levi presents photographs by the agriculturalist and photographer Thibaut Duchenne, whose direct manner of looking is situated far from established traditions and techniques and shows a rural world that, while in the process of disappearing, lives on in various eloquent forms.

European Month of Photography Berlin continues until 31st October.
To see the full programme of events, visit


The art of fashion

The Adentity team took an inspiration trip to see the beautiful exhibition: Vogue like a Painting in Copenhagen. The show highlights the relationship between fashion photography and fine arts through fashion images from the vast archives of Vogue magazine.

Created in 1892 as a society magazine targeted at New York’s upper classes, in 1905 a young lawyer and publicist called Condé Montrose Nast bought the header and transformed it into a publication that celebrated fashion, luxury and the arts. To ensure the most unique and high quality images, Condé Nast built a stable of talented up-and-coming photographers from around the world, all signed exclusively to the magazine, and gave them the creative freedom that has become an integral part of the identity of Vogue magazine and indeed, Condé Nast’s successful publishing house. This then innovative approach gave rise to fashion photography as an artform.

Like artists such as: Egon Schiele, John Everett Millais, Johannes Vermeer and Salvador Dali who inspired some of the images on display, fashion photographers have risen to become the new masters of a burgeoning fine art genre. Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Erwin Blumenfeld, Bruce Weber and Annie Leibovitz have all become respected names within fine art circles. And while the market for fashion photography hasn’t yet caught up with the masters, the over 1 million USD Richard Avedon’s 1955 ”Dovima with Elephants” for Harper’s Bazaar fetched at auction in 2010 suggests it’s just a matter of time.

Is your brand image sustainable?

For Adentity, sustainability has been an increasingly important element when planning concepts and marketing strategies for our clients for more than 15 years. So we were pleased to see that our client, Tetra Pak, has risen from 39thplace last year, to 23rdon the Swedish index of this year’s Sustainable Brand Index Official Report 2018 – the Nordic region’s largest brand study focusing on sustainability.

The independent study, which is conducted in five Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Netherlands) is divided into separate country results. For the study, more than 40,000 consumers from ages 16-70 were interviewed in relation to their perception of the chosen brands in terms of sustainability. The brands featured in the report were chosen to reflect brands that the consumer meets in their everyday life, with selection based mainly on: activity on the market of the country, turnover and market share and general brand awareness.

Key findings of this year’s report are that the number of consumers discussing sustainability remains the same as last year (although the number rose slightly in Sweden), but this isn’t necessarily bad news. According to the report, the reason is that this is attributed to the perception that sustainability is no longer something strange or different, but more of an essential topic that is not always considered to be of a particularly sustainable nature. However, the second and most worrying reason is that while companies and politicians are stepping up their efforts in terms of sustainability, consumers are lagging behind. The study cites that 73% of consumers in Sweden say that sustainability impacts their buying decision, compared to only 62% in Norway.

How can we change our habits before it’s too late? Well, it’s a long (and necessary) conversation, but for a start, we can think before we buy.

To read more about the Sustainable Brand Index and obtain a copy, click here

See Adentitys work for Tetra Pak here.

Adentity at Milan Design Week

Adentity visited Milan Design Week in search of inspiration. As well as a preview of summer temperatures, at the world’s largest industrial design event we discovered new designs, thought provoking concepts and witnessed the truly global appeal of design.

In addition to the usual high tech marketing exercises, such as Panasonic’s Transitions exhibition – an exhibition featuring new technologies to mark the company’s centenary – there were some effective low tech, low budget alternatives to be seen.

The automotive brand Mini presented Mini Living, a customisable design concept for living. To communicate the message, Mini provided wood and plexi components, allowing visitors to build their own creations. This not only attracted visitors, but engaged with them, creating a more memorable impression. For the bloggers and instagrammers, the French luxury brand Hermès employed street artists to recreate patterns from the current season in chalk on the city’s streets, while Stokke built oversized children’s furniture to attract ‘selfie’ lovers.

We were inspired by the intricate metalwork of Japanese craftsmen at Superstudio, who created beautiful cut-outs and surface effects, as well as the wealth of indigenous hand crafts and weaving techniques, which further exemplified the diversity of the event.

Sustainability and 3D printing were high on the agenda, with upcycling, closed loop production and on-demand production inspiring some interesting discussions and raising awareness.

The new school of influencers can take tips from its elders

As Condé Nast launches a postgraduate programme dedicated to social media influencers of the future, legacy brands provide insight into building relevant brands with staying power.

Photo: Jonathan Daniels

Condé Nast Italia recently announced the launch of Condé Nast Social Academy in partnership with one of the world’s most prestigious business schools – Milan’s SDA Bocconi School of Management. The certified postgraduate degree programme will offer classes on communication, social marketing and digital media, with graduates becoming a part of Condé Nast’s network of 300 social influencers.

According to the group’s Chief Executive Officer Fedele Usai in an interview with WWD, the academy’s aim is to “invest in education in order to have a well-trained and, most importantly, ethical category (of influencers)”. With the media company’s combined digital properties registering 35 million users in August 2017, the programme will offer the lucky students valuable insight from leaders of some of the group’s most successful platforms.

While the new programme, along with social media in general, is driven by progression, it will do well to take lessons from its elders, such as Vogue – Condé Nast’s 125-year-old fashion bible – and Vanity Fair, which received a record-breaking 11 million unique users in one week, following the debut of its new online redesign and editorial channels. The most important lessons that CN’s future influencers can learn from both titles are:

  • Strong storytelling skills
  • A cohesive cross-network strategy that leads back to the source
  • Most importantly, always maintain a clear and strong brand identity.

Make the connection

As media continues to expand and open up new channels, everyone’s looking for unique ways to connect with customers. Here are just a few innovative examples:

Nike Connect

You either love sports shirts, or you hate them. However, Nike has created a seriously cool shirt that builds on the fan bond. The sportswear giant recently launched NikeConnect, a special technology that is integrated into sportswear, allowing fans to follow their favourite teams through their jersey. For the launch of this year’s NBA season, the company launched a range of basketball vests fitted with a near-field communication (NFC) chip. Using NikeConnect’s new app, the wearer can place their smartphone against the chip to access exclusive team content, taking fans “closer to the game than ever before.”



Insta’s first Digizine

Singer/songwriter FKA Twigs recently launched the first issue of what is considered to be the first Instagram magazine. AVANTgarden is a “digizine” published using Instagram slides. This unique creative route offers the innovative artist a new way to connect with her 1.1m Instagram followers. The first issue: Roots. Shock. Beauty is a 10-page slideshow with Twigs as Editor, featuring magazine style photography and styling, complete with creative collaborations and credits.


A bright idea

This December, London’s South Bank will feature a Christmas tree with a difference. The UK charity, Marie Curie has developed a memory-powered interactive Christmas tree. To highlight the charity’s work caring for people with terminal illness, the fairy lights on the tree will be powered by people sharing their memories on social media. For every post on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LightUpXmas the lights will grow brighter.


Celebrating service

The US online clothing retailer Zappos came up with the idea of promoting its renowned excellence in customer service by reenacting some of the funniest true customer stories. From a budding ballerina and her quest for the perfect ballet shoes, to the husband who had to intercept his wife’s returned Zappos package in which he’d packed her jewellery, these simple, low budget commercials are a funny way of illustrating the brand’s core value in a way that we can all relate to.

View ads at Zappos

Old school cool

It’s safe to say that right now we are loving all things retro, from sneakers and food packaging, to hand crafts and computer games. New York-based illustrator Wahyu Ichwandardi has taken nolstagia to a step further by creating a teaser trailer for the forthcoming second film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, “Star Wars The Last Jedi” on an Apple IIc. Using an Apple II series computer from the 1980s, he hand drew each shot and recreated each frame using Dazzle Draw, a bitmap paint programme and a  vintage KoalaPad graphics tablet. Whatever can we expect next? Hand written letters?

Wahyu Ichwandardi’s retro take on Star Wars


The official trailer

Kolcraft – Baby stroller (USA, Chicago)

With the huge selection of baby strollers on the market, it’s hard for parents to know which one to buy. American baby product manufacturer, Kolcraft offered parents the chance to experience stroller travel from the other side of the handlebar, thanks to its Contours Baby Stroller Test-Ride.

The specially created adult-size stroller not only gave parents a chance to test out their baby’s ride, it also provided the company with a highly successful PR opportunity.

Outside of the digital jungle

With all the advertising platforms available within digital technology, it’s ironic that outdoor advertising is bigger than ever. Outside of the digital jungle, well executed, real world marketing exercises not only create a lasting impression for those who experience it first hand, the spreading of images and experiences virally allows the message to be communicated globally. Here are some of our favourite examples:

IKEA, France
To celebrate the opening of the new IKEA store in Paris, the Swedish furniture retailer built a 9×10 metre vertical roomset that customers could climb.


SBAB Bank, Sweden
The bank raised “interest on a savings account” (sparränta) by celebrating every new customer account opened with a fanfair. Pity the poor neighbours.


Coca Cola, Germany
As a play on the tagline “It’s the little things that make us happy” the soft drinks giant placed miniature kiosks selling mini cans of Coca Cola throughout five major German cities.

Milan Design Week 2017

As we bid a fond “arrivederci” to this year’s Milan Design Week, it’s time to assimilate the impressions of the more than 3,000 brands on show around the city last week. From furniture and lighting, to technology and architecture, Milan remains a centre for creativity.

The ubiquitous use of colour added to the playful, childlike element of the Salone del Mobile. La Triennale di Milano featured Giro Giro Tondo, an exhibition of Italian Design devoted to the world of children, while at Superstudio, designer Tokujin Yoshioka imagined the future through a child’s eyes when developing the futuristic S.F chair for LG’s impressive S.F_Senses of the Future installation. Using cutting-edge technology from LG, the designer created seventeen illuminated chairs made from thin, double-sided organic light-emitting diode (OLED) that emitted brilliant flashes of colour across each surface.


Nendo presented a more subdued, but no less impressive installation at the store of fashion designer Jil Sander. The Japanese design studio, headed by Oki Sato, presented Invisible Outlines, a collection of works based on how we identify and position objects by subconsciously following invisible “outlines”. The action of opening a door or drawer and 3-D graphics were brought to life, while a poetic, jellyfish-like collection of submerged vases showed a delicate, moveable boundary between the objects and water, defined only by colour.


Sustainability has become an increasingly prevalent element within design. From renewable materials such as bamboo, to traditional hand craft techniques, among all the technology and innovation, it is good to see that the human element of design is alive and flourishing. One of the most beautiful examples of sustainability in the city is Il Bosco Verticale – Vertical Forest – a pair of apartment blocks whose facades are home to almost 17,000 species of trees and plants. Designed by Boeri Studio and completed in 2014, the 76 and 110 metre high landmarks have become a model for green building.