Ever wondered how Etsy, Boohoo or Amazon would look on the high street? Us too. Carrie Gilbertson of Displaysense has mocked up some visualisations of famous online stores and reimagined them in the real world.

Carrie Gilbertson is Commercial Manager of Displaysense Ltd. During the last twelve years, Carrie has overseen all aspects of operations, product development and strategic planning within the business. Working closely with retailers, Carrie has seen significant changes to the market place over the last decade and has a keen interest in discussing the future of the retail industry.

Established in 1978, Displaysense supply businesses across the UK and Europe with cabinets, mannequins and signage - everything that a business needs to get their products on the shelves. 40 years of experience working closely with retailers in a variety of verticals has kept Displaysense on the forefront of the retail industry - examining trends such as the 'death' of the high street, the psychology of consumer shopping, and the importance of retail design. Today based in Hertfordshire, UK Displaysense have a varied customer base of made up of home, retail and B2B, and continue to successfully work across a number of sectors including fashion, exhibition, education and more.


For Etsy we took inspiration from old-fashioned European boutiques and vintage stores - particularly those you'd find in Montmartre, Paris. So something small scale, a little cluttered and almost shabby, but at the same time cool and charming. Everything had to be wooden, haphazard, almost thrown together - we wanted our virtual store to sell the carefree, bohemian vibe that reflected Etsy's customer demographics - the people drawn to second-hand bookstores, who wear vintage leather jackets. We took inspiration from Etsy's Instagram page and borrowed the colour scheme from the website to tie more directly into the brand. To summarise the aesthetic in one word - 'handcrafted.'


Whilst these days, eBay is one of the biggest websites in the world - with a clear user interface and an easy layout to navigate, we wanted to pay homage to the site's roots - the early days of online shopping when things were a little bit more of 'Wild West'. We wanted to sell the idea of the crazy, cluttered nature of eBay's product base, a place that sells everything, where you can buy anything. So if we looked to old-school Paris for Etsy, then for eBay we took inspiration from old Victorian pawn shops. We created an old-fashioned brick building and filled it to the brim with all sorts of miscellaneous items - cars, candles, cookers, clothes, and tied the designs into the brand through those instantly recognisable logo colours.


‘Boohoo are based in Manchester and we took inspiration from the funky, effortlessly cool vibe of that city's Northern Quarter. A lot of brickwork alongside modern technology with almost the suggestion of an art gallery. We wanted to sell hip, modern - effortless cool but with a sense of the business savvy attitude that has seen Boohoo become the online juggernaut it is today. Though Boohoo have an established and large menswear range, we looked to create something a little bit more feminine - and so added the pink, the neon and the curvy signs to reflect the brand's roots in fast fashion. The overall aesthetic of our 'real world' store was inspired by Boohoo's own fantastic brand personae in particular and the devil-may-care, cool appearance of their models.'


'It was important that this one was big - hence the larger size in comparison to the other stores! We took inspiration from giant department stores - Harrods in London but and primarily Macy's in New York City. A store you could live in, with several floors each dedicated to another vertical - electronics, books, toys - to create the impression of an almost overwhelming amount of products. We added exterior escalators, inspired by the Pompidou Centre in Paris, to give the impression that the store had to add entrances everywhere to accommodate the sheer amount of shoppers!'


'Zavvi used to have 'real world' stores before moving entirely to online, but it was fun to reimagine them via their current online personae. If you look at Zavvi's products, you'll find a mishmash of different kinds of pop culture - comics, gaming, superheros, vinyl, posters and graphic novels - so we wanted to cram all that together into one design. So we borrowed from a mishmash of pop culture stores - 90s VHS stores, old kinos, comic book stores with racks outside and a plastic superhero to draw people in, 80s video game arcades - to reflect the different kinds of products on offer.'

March 2019