The Lunson Mitchenall team has taken a look back at the last 12 months and at trends we predicted for 2018 made ahead of the Christmas period.
It is clear that 2017 was challenging for many on the high street and in shopping centres, but where some fell at the final hurdle, other retailers took things to new heights to ensure success.
Experience means excellence
With the market changing almost daily, retailers are creating more ingenious ways to capture the attention of customers. Using different mediums, such as in-store art, gin bars, massage stations and more, retailers are moving far beyond the in-store promotions and marketing that have held them steady over recent years. The in-store experience has now become almost as important as the products themselves and retailers and landlords alike are reaping the benefits. Not surprisingly, nowhere is this truer than in larger units and department stores.
Presentation helps performance
On a recent trip to Tokyo, it was clear that attention to presentation and a focus on the customer journey was a key component to creating a successful shopping destination. Isetan department store is a prime example. The self-titled “story-teller of authentic Japanese culture” puts the customer first in everything it does. Whether this be through the exquisite presentation of each individual product, its fine dining offering or its arts and culture workshops, you feel as though you would never need to leave this haven of a sophisticated destination.
Moving closer to home, more specifically to the brand new Fenwicks store in Bracknell, this is a trend that has caught on in the UK. Incorporating unprecedented design and customer experience, this is a store with a difference; moving away from traditional retail and forging a new path centred around the customer. Coupled with their dining concept, Fuego, which cleverly encapsulates the feel of a leading West End restaurant, Fenwicks has championed the importance of innovation.
When it comes to the catering and leisure scene, landlords and brands alike are having to work just as hard. As drivers in their own right, F&B/leisure brands are proving indispensable to landlords as the market cries out for concepts that aren’t just about leisure, but about culture and community.
In Seoul, new concept Sports Monster, the “world’s first ‘sport-ainment’ theme park”, has been heralded as a dynamic space in which to find sport and entertainment. Complete with leading technology in the form of LED sports courts, this is leisure like no other, and this sense of discovery amongst consumers is what makes the concept so successful. By using experience, people are enlightened by finding something new, bringing them back again and again.
Blurring the lines
Flying back to Japan for a moment and the use of flexible space has never been more apparent. Fighting off the threat of offline sales, landlords are able to create a truly dynamic space. Ginza Six, Tokyo, blends art, retail, leisure, stunning design and dedicated customer services to create a destination like no other. Often unsure as to whether you’re in a separate shop or still in a department store, Ginza Six puts flexibility at the heart of its offer.
Elsewhere, others are undertaking a similarly impressive approach by deconstructing their space; high quality concessions are often only separated by merchandise, redefining fit outs to create a unique experience.
So, as we are now into 2018, it will be interesting to see if these trends last? I certainly think so. With even more to learn from our international counterparts, traditional retail as we know it is changing faster than we could ever imagine