GlobalShop is the world's largest international store design and in-store marketing event of 2001. So, if you're questioning your store's design and ultimately its impact on your customers, McCormick Place in Chicago, March 22-24, is where the answers lie. Attendees, estimated to exceed 16,000 this year, can look forward to picking the brains of forecasters, management gurus, store designers, architects and leading retailers for ideas on revitalizing an existing store or creating an out-of-this-world prototype.

This is a chance for retail professionals to get a leg up on the competition and to figure out what consumers want in 2001. “Today's consumers have become more sophisticated, stores must be designed to accommodate their tastes. Baby boomers want lots of excitement and Gen Y's want music and videos,” says Karen Schaffner, publisher of Display & Design Ideas magazine and co-producer of this retail designers' forum.

GlobalShop 2001 hosts several centerpieces. One of the most futuristic, Jetson-esque displays is the store of the future exhibit, designed and presented by Beachwood, Ohio-based Herschman Architects.

“It's going to be out there,” says Schaffner. “Our store, Buyometrics: The Smartwear Company, is based on biometrics — a true industry term that describes ways of personal identification including finger printing, iris scanning and facial recognition,” says Michael Fant, a designer and architect at Herschman Architects. The company believes this Big Brother approach could be an inevitable part of the future, so retailers should take notice.

The exhibit begins with a customer snapshot — a means of facial recognition (a biometrics technique). All three entrances of the store are equipped with cameras so as soon as a customer enters the store, they are identified and greeted by an electronic voice. Large, curving metal fixtures display one article of clothing, a camera and a touch-screen monitor. These fixtures are designed to take the place of sales associates.

After choosing an item, the customer retires to the fitting room, where the selection arrives by pneumatic tubing. A live image of the customer in his garb can be telecast via plasma screen and computer (there are no mirrors) to friends and family at home using a specified code for discretion. The customer can purchase the items on the computer while still in the dressing room and take the item home.

Other GlobalShop highlights include Hanzon Studios Inc.'s “revival” project; award ceremonies including NASFM's retail design awards 2001 and POPAI's outstanding merchandising achievement (OMA) awards contest and gala; and keynote speaker discussions.

Contact: Jeannie Bell,
GlobalShop coordinator, (703) 488-2817.