Back to the roots – Entertainment, real-life experiences and inspiration
“The store is our biggest product. I think it has to serve a bigger purpose than just selling, because anybody can do that faster, cheaper,” explains Angela Ahrendt of Apple. Retail today must offer many things that hardly have anything to do with actual shopping. There are a great many trends for brick-and-mortar stores, but what they all have in common is that they meet the customers’ demand for entertainment. In this age of online shopping in particular, people long for real-life experiences and inspiration.
It’s all about finding the right mix
Lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters manages this with a mix of retail, restaurants and changing pop-up spaces, which function a bit like galleries for staging new themes at regular intervals and which also provide less well known brands with a platform. Instead of following a formulaic pattern, each store has its own design. With its mix of various styles and materials, the store design harmonises perfectly with the product lines in the respective areas of fashion, homeware and accessories. At the flagship store on New York’s Herald Square, this is complimented by a café, a hair salon, an optician’s shop and a record store – all to provide customers with the perfect shopping experience. Lingering in the store is absolutely welcomed and encouraged, as is posting store photos on social media.
At Nike in Soho, it is the entrance area that is the primary stage, always presenting something new – such as the latest running shoe. Shoppers who want to test the shoe right there on the treadmill run through a stylized landscape – because digital features also play an important role in these new stores, provided they add entertainment value to the customer’s experience, offer valuable information or make shopping easier.
At the Victoria’s Secret flagship store on 5th Avenue, enormous video walls covering all three floors of the main staircase display the latest fashion shows and lure viewers into the store.
Product, experience, community – this is the focus for the new concepts of athletic brands in particular. Special apps provide community members with training programmes and nutrition advice. On the top floor of its store in Soho, Nike has a basketball court where interested customers can play a game by booking a time slot in advance via email.
Retail gets personal
Providing product personalisation is becoming more important by the day. At the Adidas brand flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York, which was designed based on the “stadium” concept that is currently being implemented all over the world, this takes the form of computers that allow customers to personalise the materials and colours of surfaces, soles and laces for their new shoes. But sneaker fans can still find all the materials in store so they can see, feel and experience them in person.
Author: Claudia Horbert, Expert for International Store Design at EHI Retail Institute e. V.
Source: EHI Retail Institute e. V.