Our website uses cookies

Cookies enable us to provide the best experience possible and help us understand how visitors use our website. By browsing Retail Design World, you agree to our use of cookies.

Okay, I understand Learn more

VM comment: The challenge of international VM campaigns by Tyrone Cano of Propability

The creative input of the UK retail manufacturing industry is definitely leading the way across Europe. We see this repeatedly with our clients across Europe, who struggle to find local companies able to design - least of all manufacture - anything with the same level of sophistication, detail or quality as products created in the UK. We were recently engaged on a massive project working for Pavel Cmelik, (owner of the Hamleys Franchise store in Prague), having been recommended by Hamleys directly. Pavel is one example of a client who had to make the decision to choose us in the UK over local counterparts. On numerous occasions he had commissioned work to local creative firms and, time and time again, had been disappointed by the outcome.

The UK can boast of a booming retail market, with VM designers and manufacturers continuously challenged to come up with innovative displays and environments to engage shoppers. This constant pressure means UK based companies are far more developed when it comes to ideas, innovative displays and manufacturing techniques – making us stand out next to our European neighbours. Take Disneyland Paris for instance - most of its original construction was produced by UK-based companies, as local firms struggled to deliver the kind of level of quality expected by The Disney Company. This trend continues today.

Working with companies abroad does not come without complications. Language, although not the biggest problem, means you are always a very small step away from being misunderstood or misinterpreted. Worse though are differences in cultures and, worse still, differences in regulations, be they related to health and safety, electrical or fire certification. These are all obstacles that have challenged us quite frequently when working on projects abroad and this is precisely why we now count on years of experience to carefully plan, so as to minimise any shortcomings. Other UK companies are the same. The main thing is that you know that you will end up delivering a product that will blow the customer’s mind as they are simply not used to the same level of quality, finish and execution. 

With Britain being in the EU, there is no problem when delivering goods abroad and as a result it is very much financially viable. This might obviously change depending on which way the EU Referendum vote goes on 23 June but, up to now, we have been able to take advantage of the situation. We don't know what will happen in the future, but it’s safe to say we will continue to be approached by companies abroad and will have to find a way to deliver - no matter what obstacles are put in our way. 

Tyrone Cano is co-founder of Propability.