5 aspects defining the physical retail space of tomorrow – a whistle-stop tour of central London stores

With physical retail shedding its skin and morphing into the shopping experiences of the future, Neil Overall and the Visplay team kindly invited The Retail Hive to join them on a tour of the modern high street.

Hannah Dolan, Editor-at-Large, The Retail Hive  

Following the visit to some incredible stores, I’ve listed the 5 aspects I believe will define the physical retail space of tomorrow.

Corporate Social Responsibility / sustainability

With sustainability/CSR front of mind for consumers, retailers really have the opportunity to drive the message far and wide! Retail giant Nike was stop one, where synergy between retailer and shop fit manufacturer was prevalent. The flagship store boasts a bespoke design, fitted with 100% recyclable aluminium, produced entirely by hydroelectric renewable energy. 

Invisible technology integrations

Technology must blend seamlessly with infrastructure to deliver a true multichannel experience!

Scannable QR codes, AR experiences and opportunities to interact further with products was rife throughout the central London stores but successful retailers need to focus on technologies that add value and enhance experience. It was interesting to see how JD Sports were accommodating the demands of the ‘Order here today, wear it tomorrow shoppers’ with their in-store omnichannel technology.

Experience is everything

Measuring experience has become just as important as measuring sales with retailers giving up linear retail space in favour of experiential initiatives (the aliens at Gentle Monster were a personal favourite!). Far along on this Journey is Selfridges, transforming into a store championing freshness and inclusiveness… it’s not every day you find a skate park in a department store.

Breeding a new customer

Following on from my previous point, it was clear to see that modern retail is providing both D2C brands and legacy retailers the opportunity to reinvent themselves, collaborate and attract a new breed of customer. Gucci positioned next to street wear brands in Selfridges, or Microsoft housing an e-sport attraction are just a few examples of enhanced exposure and truly defining the future of your brand.

Curated product allocations

Eliminating visual noise and focusing on hero products was another visible trend, aligning with the spirit of enhanced experience. Retailers are focusing on exclusivity, personalisation and customised stock. Whether it’s Dyson delivering touch and feel elements in store – or retailers curating and changing stores every six weeks based on the behaviours of busy Londoners, there is a need to think locally!

We’re proud to have representatives from all of the innovative retailers listed above in our network!

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