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The Future of The Luxury Store


HOW HUMAN VALUES, EXPERIENCE & TECHNOLOGY SHAPE LUXURY STORES IN THE FUTURE.


Retail is not just changing. Its Hyper-changing. Its change on steroids.

The way we shop today will not be the way we shop in the future. The challenges are real and the solutions are the most interesting we have seen ...

WHAT’S THE SITUATION?

  • The global economy is down.

  • We are increasingly shopping online.

  • The mood is austere and sober.

  • Affluents want to save and invest.

  • The HENRYs (High-Earners-Not-Rich Yet) are rising but they consider themselves middle class.

  • Its less about the Big Shiny Logo now and more about getting maximum value for the buck.

So The Retailer's Challenge is:

HOW TO TRANSLATE CUSTOMER AUSTERITY INTO BUSINESS PROSPERITY?

THE 3 SOLUTIONS :

Luxury Retail Design is focusing on 3 areas to address this new Situation:

  1. Human Values

  2. Store Experience

  3. Technology


SOLUTION 1: HUMAN VALUES

We live in an always-on highly connected world. We have hectic lifestyles and buzzing work schedules. There is a need to emphasise human values more than ever.

Luxury Retail’s new concepts are:

Austerity, Authenticity & Trust.

So, New Luxury Stores have:

  • Simple Minimalistic Palettes -- In form, shape, color.

  • Craftsmanship, local artisans & designers for making stores relevant to their locations.

  • Texture has become the most important interior design element -- Increasing use of warm raw reclaimed woods, rough stone finishes, raw exposed concrete, textured felts & untreated metals.

SOLUTION 2 : BRINGING THE EXPERIENCE BACK

The ‘in-store’ experience needs to be optimised. Why would a 24x7 connected customer come to the store? Because the destination is the store. The store needs to have an experience you can never have online. You want the customer to come back more and stay longer. How?

By making the Store

  • A Cultural hub. A Place to Lounge. To Stay. To Encounter.

  • An Experience zone.

  • A Learning Area.

So we have ...

  • Restaurants in stores. Because you spend time and stay longer at restaurants.

  • Book reading areas. So that you can read about the brand’s story while having a cup of coffee or tea.

  • Multipurpose flexible layouts.

The emphasis is on history, manufacturing and heritage. Storytelling is vital for brand connection.

Retail Design now takes inspiration from museums that have educated people for ages. With so much so easily available, brands need to create trust. One way is to allow visitors to use & experience their products before they buy. So the store becomes the brand’s learning & experience centre.

SOLUTION 3 : THE INTERNET OF THINGS:

By 2020, there would be 1.7 trillion gadgets. That’s 20 times the gadgets we have now !

So technology cannot be ignored. Infact technology will drive the future of luxury retail.

  • Because building rents are high, ‘Showrooming’, has become a viable concept. Consumers can try out a product in a store. Then, they can place an order online and have it home delivered.

  • Surveys suggest that people get information on a brand’s new collections mostly online or via apps.

  • Huge Video Walls bring an interactive, immersive experience.

  • Touchscreens reduce staff interaction and provide collaborative learning opportunities.

  • Retail stores are removing the cashier.

  • Smart Shelves are sweeping big box retailers. These store shelves keep track of inventory and alert the staff when some item has low stock on the shelves.


JUST GETTING STARTED …

Methods, strategies and tactics should come together to make the shoppers’ experience in each store the vital factor in making a purchase.

Powerful forces are affecting the luxury industry right now and remind us that we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The time to implement change is now !

*The above is an abridged version of our article published in the March 2016 edition of 'Shopping Centre News' -- India's leading retail magazine. Download the full unabridged article here.

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