While online retail might be enjoying a rise, a wealth of well-known brands are employing physical retail to engage their customers on a whole new level.
The innovation comes at a time when consumers value the sensory experience of real-world retail now more than ever.
So, who’s doing what when it comes to physical premises and how are they embracing their customers with a true point of difference in-store?
David Jones – Catering to the conscious consumer
Over the past few years David Jones has proved a thought leader when it comes to shifting the focus of physical premises.
In 2018, they announced the redevelopment of their Elizabeth Street store in Sydney to see it transform into six key “worlds”, incorporating a swanky champagne bar, children’s world, and shoe heaven.
At the time they described the refurbishment as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the 180-year old retailer to create a world-class shopping destination.
Now they’re innovating elsewhere with the launch of the Mindfully Made hub in seven stores across the country.
The strategy is complemented by a hub on their website and looks to promote conscious consumerism.
Each product selected has to meet one or more of five sustainability criteria – Australian Made, Community Minded, Sourced with Care, Reduce & Recycle, and Kind to Animals.
As Inside Retail explains: “The new hub, which first launched ahead of Fashion Revolution Week last year, is intended to be a one-stop-shop for the growing number of consumers who consider the total cost of an item, including its environmental and social impact, before they buy”.
Nike – Offering a fully immersive experience
Described as a “truly unique and immersive experience that pushes the boundaries of retail”, the newly opened Nike store in Bangkok is designed to be a blend of physical and digital experiences.
The 850sq m site offers personalisation, customisation and innovation. For example, shoppers can have their products customised for them courtesy of the “Nike by You” service. There is also an apparel fitting service and a footwear trialling option, while guests can also book one-on-one sessions with running experts and styling specialists.
Nike’s Director of Southeast Asia and India, Tarundeep Singh told the Australasian Leisure website: “The top Nike offerings have been carefully curated for this community, and the store has been conceptualised with multiple touch points for a fully immersive and seamless Nike experience that is truly personalised and unique.”
Boots – Targeting beauty and wellness
Boots has a long history as an English pharmacy, but their newly revamped store at Covent Garden looks more akin to a luxury department store.
It’s packed full of beauty products, but has a focus on wellness, with both these areas continuing to thrive in the modern retail landscape.
Insider Trends explains the store offers eco-friendly brands, wellness products and a beauty kitchen – which has refillable toiletries. So, it’s also targeting high street sustainability as part of its business brief.
“It also offers a water refill point, which gives shoppers a reason to drop into the store whenever they’re passing. Boots has also rethought the pharmacy with a mix of fast services like express pickup lanes and slow services like comfy seating and extra consultation space.”
Camp – Nailing the experience
Camp is a US retailer who has come to be world-renowned for their flagship store in New York City.
Insider Trends explains that when you enter it looks like a traditional toy store, but guests are invited to open a secret door that reveals an enormous interactive play area beyond.
“Here kids can play with all the best and newest toys and enjoy all kinds of children’s events and experiences. The theme of the space regularly changes, which means there’s always something new for returning customers as well,” they note.
In addition to being a retail destination, the store also makes revenue from hosting events.
Country Road – All about sustainability
When Country Road opened their new store in Chadstone last year, the focus was on sustainability.
The retailer was kitted out with fixtures and fittings made from upcycled items in a bid to reduce the store’s environmental impact.
For example, yoghurt containers, fishing nets, and paper were among the source materials, but as Inside Retail explains, they were “not in any form you would recognise”. Instead, they were transformed into carpet, wall cladding, and more.
This approach saw the flagship retail outlet become the first fashion retail store to receive a 5 Star Green Star Design Review Rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, and it followed on from other ethical commitments.
In 2015, Country Road introduced a series of sustainable fashion ranges, including traceable merino wool, jeans made from recycled denim and swimwear made from recycled nylon.
You can learn more about how real-world retail is changing here.