This summer Resolution Interiors helped launch the new gift shop as part of the Welcome Centre and Exhibition area for St Albans Cathedral, the oldest Christian site in Britain.
Creating visitor-centric experiences are key to the longevity of historic sites as these experiences attract repeat customers and help to promote the reputation of site.
Here are some key learnings when working on museum stores:
- Technology is limitless with VR and AI, but you have to provide value for visitors, not novelty
- There has to be a focus on how a new environment relates to the history of a building, for instance on this project we incorporated the changes of depth in the cathedral’s ceiling design into the shapes of the shelves used in the store. We also used a pattern on the work surfaces that replicated the pattern of the Medieval tiles and the Victorian recreations of these tiles that are still visible in various locations throughout the site.
- You need to consider the needs of the visitors. From those who want to browse to those who want to learn more
- Gift shops can add to the experience if designed with intent – rather than creating a store that feels bolted on for the sake of getting customers to make a purchase before they leave the site, by making the store feel valuable and informative it can enhance the overall experience and actually lead to greater brand loyalty and higher revenue
- You can build a communal relationship between the visitor and the buying decision
- Historic sites can retain their piece of the retail opportunity at critical points on the visitor experience by presenting purchase points at the moment when the emotional connection and purchase intent for particular items are highest.
Museum stores are becoming a point of difference, not a place that’s an afterthought before you leave a building and continue with the rest of your day. It is often the last impression your guests will have, so let’s make it a good one!