Every retailer has been challenged in the last decade to improve its offer, to be smarter, quicker and more creative than it has ever been, and that challenge is magnified in the current and future markets. The massive impact of the web – predicted to settle at a 20% share of the market – will mean that those retailers effectively exploiting to that technology will retain their share, while others may suffer.
It is very easy to see how a successful brand might operate on the street and on the web. It is possible to imagine that a successful brand might exist purely on the web… but significantly, it is unlikely a successful brand will operate entirely on the street in the future. The retail experience now needs to reflect that seismic shift in shopping habits. Great stores will support the web and vice versa, it has to be a truly immersing total experience, a unique and rich brand-led event that captures your heart.
The look and feel of that experience can be varied and individual, it is not one solution for all. The very reactive and flexible frameworks being developed by brands such as H&M, Lindex and Topshop are one direction, at the opposite end of the spectrum the lifestyle offer of Tsutaya in Tokyo delivers a very mature, deeply moving space with a longevity and permanence that is very reassuring. A brand such as Liberty in its London flagship straddles both extremes – a very permanent architecture with a very responsive and reactive attitude to merchandising and the management of brands.