Pushing the envelope for a service-led retail economy where selling assistance is as valuable as vending products, luxury American department store chain Nordstrom has opened a prototype concept store in Los Angeles that offers nothing but professional services.
Two UK department stores have recently launched pop-ups that seek to push beyond promoting products or even the brands behind the spaces. Instead, they’re making grander social statements – reframing the purpose of transient brand spaces in the process.
US concept ShopWithMe is devised as an affordable solution for brands looking to excite consumers with interactive design and glimpses of personalisation. The portable, tech-enhanced pop-up store is reflective of the shift towards downsized retail destinations and omni-focused smart stores.
We constantly hear that the future of retail lies online – but does it really? That’s the question many retailers have been left to ponder over as, while the business of online shopping is booming, a strong case still exists for bricks and mortar stores. For this reason, most retailers offer both online and in-store experiences to their customers, with an increasing number choosing to focus on their physical, rather than virtual, offerings in order to align with a new wave of consumers who seek out ‘experience culture’ and genuine, human interaction.
Subterranean retail hubs are booming, especially in countries with harsh climates where controlled environments offer leisure-time respite. But the relatively captive commuter audience has more mileage globally. According to a new report by US property business CBRE (2016), 20% of brands from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa are now targeting travel hubs as an emerging format of expansion.
Following several successful honesty-oriented campaigns in 2015, including Pay-What-You-Want Holiday Season Sale and guided Transparency Tours that took consumers around its manufacturing locations, US fashion e-tailer Everlane has lived up to its mantra for Radical Transparency by inaugurating its new San Francisco headquarters with a five-day-long series of public-facing, behind-the-scenes events.