Where everybody knows your size: R With the rise of online shopping comes a new reason to head to the mall — social networking. More and more, retailers are looking for ways to engage the increasing numbers of consumers who use the mall more for scoping than for shopping. The fund includes communal dressing rooms equipped with video technology to let your friends weigh in on what you're wearing and large outdoor stores with group classes on rock climbing.
Q Retail Goes Green: Everywhere we turn these days, people are talking about “green.” From the runway to the automobile showroom to ex-vice presidents, “environmentally friendly” is definitely warming up globally. And, as socially conscious consumers continue to shell out the green for the green, retailers and retail environments will respond by devising ways to help their customers contribute to a sustainable future. But is green here to stay…or just another occasional guest on the talk show of life?
H Wishing Wellness: As Boomers age and the battle for a healthier America wages on, consumers are taking a more active approach to their physical, mental and spiritual wellness. Spas and health-related offerings are cropping up everywhere from hotels to the workplace, and more and more, in retail environments. This goes well beyond the outdoors gear, one-a-day vitamins and natural fabrics — it touches everything from leisure time and fitness to food and fashion. As retailers and developers continue to search for new ways to attract consumers, expect to see a well-defined sense of wellness as the cure.
P The Asian Invasion: It's not just French Vogue, which just had its first Chinese cover girl, sensing the change in the air. Asian cities, particularly in China, have experienced massive growth over the past few years, fueling a new generation of creative thinking. The Western worlds of fashion, technology and medicine are all undergoing a shift with a tsunami of bright ideas coming from the East. Just as American retail environments have long influenced Asian shopping centers, it's likely we'll see the opposite occurring — Asian style becomes an American trademark.
Q Pop-up Goes the Brand: Smart retailers have been doing it for a few years (Target was among the first, followed by Nike and even Lexus), but now it seems everyone has jumped on the pop-up wagon. Kraft Foods, Charmin, Delta Airlines and Kodak have all created temporary storefronts to promote new products, generate brand buzz and bypass the middleman by taking their products straight to the street — usually in ways that are as bold as they are creative. Watch for more big brands to pop up in the unlikeliest of places, challenging retail designers and developers to consider the value of catering to now-you-see-it, now-you-don't retail.