Retail Trends: Day at the Museum

International style pundit, WGSN, has highlighted the rising prominence of British and international museums as retail trend setters.


For long prime tourist destinations, museums and galleries are learning to leverage their strong consumer loyalty and intrinsic footfall – both online and from the high street  – to stimulate retail sales of enviably high-end product.

As WGSN reports, “Forget exit through the gift shop, the latest wave of museum shops are retail destinations, rather than exhibition afterthoughts.”

The Desiisokongn Museum shop (pictured above) with its great ecommerce site is perhaps the best British example of this thriving genre, stocking a wide variety of contemporary product including homeware, jewellery, stationery, toys, games and books from the like of:

Normann Copenhagen and Stelton, Braun, Isokon (left) Issey Miyake (homeware), Barber & Osqerby, Artek, Sola, Tatty Devine, Oxx, Dowse, Nuuna, Ola Studio, Midori,  Brio, Lanka Kade, Donkey Products and more.

The Design Museum is also streaking ahead in the technology stakes, recently presenting its 25th anniversary update via an iPad app that explores key pieces from the collection through film, audio, text and photography. On the 25 of each month (since August), the museum is releasing exclusive interview videos with key home and gift designers, who discuss their favourite item from the Design Museum Collection.

Search options on the app are as evocative as you’d hope from a lofty cultural institution devoted to architecture and industrial design, which offers search options such as: time, material, colour, location, manufacturer and designer.



Another great example of the inspiring museum retail genre is the Carnaby Street shop created for the V&Q’s 60s exhibition, ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’, which WGSN describes as “essentially brand activation and experievashopntial marketing”.


As with the Design Museum’s aspirational shop, high octane in store visual merchandising are essential to the V&A’s venture, with classic band posters and 60s music helping to inspire shoppers. Surely this is lifestyle retailing at its millennial-targeting best, blending cool cutting edge culture and vintage design with an iconic high street location and brilliant brand amplification.


moaThe museum trend is also gaining ground in America, with the MoMA store in New York that was renovated by Lumsden Design and the fabulous Los Angeles’ Broad Museum, winner of Best New Museum and Best Museum Architecture at  the Leading Culture Destinations Awards.



the-shop-at-the-broad“I think that the change we are seeing with museum stores is that they are starting to value their point of difference. They realise that consumers want a reminder of the experience they had, much like when they come back from a good holiday, and so now they are developing their stores with experiential retail in mind, and consumers love that,” says WGSN travel editor Emily Cater.