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International retail trends

Retailers are turning their traditional model upside down and inside out, so they not only stand out from the crowd but they build a loyal customer base with real genuine brand love. That’s what we’re aiming for, right?

Below are some trends or philosophies we see standing out and infiltrating the New Zealand market in the near future.

Anti-Big. Anti-Big simply means large retailers giving the illusion that they’re small and intimate. When I say illusion, it’s genuine trickery because the big players are acting small through clever design and the experience they’re creating. 

Take, for instance, Urban Outfitters, which launched Space Ninety 8 – a converted warehouse in Brooklyn with a unique design, pop up spaces and a clear focus on local craftsmanship.

The ‘big’ store has been designed to feel like four personal and unique spaces over four floors. The Adidas originals sit in the basement, with a gastropub, roof top bar and deck on the top floor. The Market Space contains pop-up stores showcasing 44 artists and designers, and each brand has created products that are exclusive to Space Ninety 8. The first floor also includes Urban Renewal for vintage and reworked pieces. The beauty of the spaces is that they are designed to be changed out regularly, which is very on-trend.

The point of sale displays tell a story with plenty of visual merchandising in amongst Urban Outfitters’ rough, industrial and unfinished style. They have maintained their brand but stepped it up a few notches by elevating the boutique experience.

The Jemoli department store in Zurich is another great example of Anti-Big. Having always lived in the shadow of its competitor, Globus, Jelmoli has upped the ante with a brand new 20,000sqft food hall, where (wait for it) food meets fashion.

It’s a genius design – a sophisticated food hall with added fashion flair. Mannequins are cheekily blowing kisses, while glass boxes house shoes and are placed alongside fresh food displays. The food market is home to several zones, which again makes the space feel boutique and personable, even when it’s such a massive floor plate.

It boasts a cheese fondue area with take-out or eat-in options, and alongside the standard meat, fish and bakery counters sit an espresso bar, sushi counter and BBQ point. In-store eating adds to the experience and Jelmoli offers various added value services including personal shopping, recipe tips through to cooking classes and dinner events. All of this brings a unified sense of food to their offering.

The above stores are a great example of one of the biggest trends sweeping retail currently and that is, Push for Posh. It’s an exciting time for retail and, driven by massive investments in the store by fast fashion value brands, the Push for Posh is the most important trend in retail because it is global and crosses every sector.

For brands which want to genuinely connect with and excite customers, the bland corporate rollout simply does not make the grade because the global benchmark is too high. The successful store of the future is a destination rather than a house of product. It is a place which is warm and welcoming, with a clear personality. Above all it is a place of enthusiastic experts, from the personal connection with the staff, through to product storytelling, clever solutions and technology that genuinely adds value to the customer experience.

This story was originally published in NZ Retail magazine issue 738, June / July 2015.

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