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Insights into the Changing Retail Landscape

Bespoke Careers recently teamed up with Mettā to co-host a talk on how technology is transforming the retail experience in the built and physical space. Find out what tech, experience marketing, retail and design experts had to say about the shift that’s underway.

Insights into the Changing Retail Landscape

On Wednesday 1 March 2017, design and architecture recruiter Bespoke Careers hosted an event and talk at Mettā, as part of the private members club’s focus on urban planning, smart living and property tech in the month of March. The two co-hosted the 1 March event, which saw entrepreneurs, designers, architects, retailers, suppliers and more gather to hear a panel of speakers discuss the shifting boundaries between the physical and digital retail space.

On the panel were four industry leaders who, between them, provided a 360-degree perspective on the rapidly changing retail environment, thanks to their wide-ranging expertise. The panelists were Alvin Lo, who is Vice President of the Hong Kong chapter of the Retail Design Institute and who runs design for K11 Concepts; Bay McLaughlin, Co-founder and COO of, a hardware investment fund and platform that aims to bring new connected technologies to retail shelves; Justin Bonnett, Head of LIVE at DDB Group Hong Kong, who designs and executes experience marketing; and Rufus Turnbull, Creative Director of Studio X, a design firm that focuses on innovation and businesses.

Here, we touch on some of the panel’s key insights.

That human touch

“Culture and flexibility matter most. Product Culture Fit matters more than demographics and analytics. Retail is about humans, not data.” – Bay McLaughlin

“Brands that design and execute their ‘customer experience’ from a consumer point of view will win.” – Justin Bonnett

Improving people’s lives

“Designers must recognise that it is their responsibility to develop innovative, responsible ideas that can actually improve people’s lives and enhance the performance of businesses.” – Rufus Turnbull

“The consumer will always think, ‘What’s in it for me? What am I getting?’ If you want loyalty, you have to really give something in exchange.” – Justin Bonnett

Convenience and flexibility

“Today’s consumers want effectiveness and convenience in the fastest possible way with the least amount of friction during the purchasing process.” – Justin Bonnett


“With AR, you already have these apps that let you take a picture of yourself and get accurate body measurements. A lot of the reason we go to retail stores is to try clothes on. I think AR will have a real profound effect when it comes to purchasing behaviours and the changes for retail.” – Bay McLaughlin

“The boundary between virtual and real will become more seamless. It will be blurred. Technology will continue to grow, and we cannot stop this. So we have to figure out how to engage with it in order to lock your customer to your database and get them to visit your stores again and again.” – Alvin Lo

“As technology becomes more sophisticated, it will become more integrated into the physical environment. So the physical environment will become more relevant, not less. We’ve moved beyond an era of flatscreens and touchscreens and really conspicuous technology in a space.” – Rufus Turnbull

The future of digital versus physical space

“I am still positive about the physical retail environment; in many ways, it cannot be replaced by digital retail. All retailers, however, have to be innovative and react to customers’ rapidly changing demands. What I see is a huge market for talent who understand the new rules of the game, and who are willing to learn continuously in order to lead the trend.” – Alvin Lo

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