Howard Saunders designed stores for over twenty five years. I learnt my trade at one of the biggest and best London agencies, Fitch. Rodney Fitch pretty much invented retail design. He passionately believed that design was a force to make ordinary people’s lives better, much better.
Those days in Soho were life changing. It was ridiculously competitive and brimful with flamboyant and opinionated characters.
That’s why we worked so hard… to be smarter than the next. It was an exciting time and I’m very grateful for everything I learnt at Fitch.”
“As a Retail Futurist Howard Saunders encourage my clients to take a fresh look at what they do and what they really stand for. Business is often too busy to pause and think, you have to force these things. I try to unravel the meanings behind the things we buy: why our aspirations shift and how the future is likely to change the way we behave.
I believe shopping is not only the engine of our economy, it’s the foundation of a thriving community. This isn’t some business to business thing, this is life.”
Howard has worked in retail design for over twenty five years. As a former Creative Director of Fitch, based in London, he was responsible for retail design and branding and for creating multi-disciplinary teams of architects, graphic designers, product designers and copywriters and making them work together!
As an independent consultant Howard has worked closely with Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Westfield, for over a decade, helping them develop new store designs and keeping them informed of the latest retail innovations and shifts in customer expectations.
His work with Westfield, for example, culminated in the creation of the artisan Great Eastern Market at Westfield Stratford, Europe’s largest shopping centre, which opened in 2011 on London’s Olympic Park.
Now based in New York, Howard’s current clients include CBRE, Claire’s Accessories, Consumer Goods Forum, Ebay, Johnson & Johnson, L’Occitane, Magento, Mothercare, Permira and Westfield World Trade Center.
As an international speaker Howard’s talks are big, visual journeys across the world of retail. Provocative, challenging, brutally honest, evidence based and thoroughly entertaining.
Retail is in the middle of a revolution and too few companies are prepared or even fully aware. We all changed in the wake of the global financial crisis and the consequences of this are just becoming apparent.
More than ever before we seek out things that give us reassurance; products with meaning or stories to tell. We look for retail spaces that enhance our sense of community, of belonging, and we’re turning away from stores that only want to sell us more stuff. This is as relevant for value brands as it is for the luxury end of the market.”
Retail is the lifeblood of our towns, cities and most importantly, our communities. So it’s critical that we keep innovating and maintain enthusiasm for our stores.”
“The key is to understand what customers are really looking for, then we can start to engage.
But there’s a dark and murky side to all this democracy. ME Agers have evolved into an army of super-entitled consumers, brimful with great expectations. Any semi-literate teen is a potential vlogging evangelist now, preaching how we should live, how we must better our lives.
It’s not the porn you need to worry about. It’s the feeding frenzy of entitlement your children are locked into that will distort their view of life on earth. Remember, they are all beautiful now, no matter what, and all deserving of our undying respect, as well as a flawless complexion, of course.
The entitled generation is already percolating into our shopping centres, and you can expect them to become ever more demanding as they grow in number. Every mundane thing you take for granted, or haven’t thought much about, they will have an opinion on, passed to them, no doubt, by one of their teenage life coaches.
Toothpaste, toilet paper, washing-up liquid, fruit juice, shampoo, aspirin…they’ll be keen to enlighten you as to how deadly these seemingly innocent products are to the health of you and the planet. Clearly, we must prepare for a mighty surge in demand for products and services that are specifically tailored to their highly individual tastes.
From international conferences to team seminars, my job is to ignite enthusiasm and kickstart innovation.
Whatever the category, there is so much we can learn about truly engaging with our customers.
Howard Saunders talks are high energy, visual journeys through the world of groundbreaking retail that build a clearer picture of where we’re heading. I’m known for being provocative, challenging, brutally honest, evidence-based, as well as thoroughly entertaining.
The Story of Joel