The essential role of branding in the retail customer journey

Branding is so much more than a logo. Retailers and brands need to communicate these messages across all platforms consistently to build relationships with customers. The role of branding in the retail customer journey is also extremely important, as designers this is a core consideration within every project we undertake.


Considering the importance of the brand can be the difference between creating support with customers or them wishing not to return. More often than not, it is the difference between securing a sale or sending shoppers to a competitor.


Nike and Apple are just two examples that demonstrate iconic branding. While they are very different companies in terms of their offering, they have strong branding in common. Through every consumer interaction whether it is online, in print, or in store – they deliver a seamless and recognisable brand experience. The use of their logo is instantly affiliated with the company. This level of branding helps build relationships with their customer base.

Design is extremely important when it comes to translating the company brand into retail spaces. First impressions stay with consumers and therefore, it is imperative to immediately translate the brand clearly and this should remain consistent throughout the store. Great design can directly impact the customer journey. If a store is designed well then customers will navigate organically around the space. This means they will see all the products on offer and should find what they are looking for with ease. For example, when we design for Costa, we always develop the space to maximise customer flow. Upon entry the customer will be met with multi-deck units where an eye catching product offer & display encourages the customer to make their product selection. From here, customers move straight onto the front counter to place their order. At this point they will be met with a selection of products from the impulse buy section before completing their purchases. If the customer journey is produced successfully it will allow companies to deliver immersive and memorable experiences that customers will remember. In doing so you build relationships with your customer and they are more likely to return.

Companies are looking to build brand stories in order to rely their message consistently across their bricks and mortar stores and their online platforms. As customers distribute their time across in-store experiences and online through their smartphones or computer screens, they should see companies showcasing continuity of brand that customers recognise and relate too.

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