2017 has been a year of change with some big shifts taking place in the retail industry. We’ve seen a multitude of pop-ups coming and going, the trend for products cutting out the middle-man and opening their own stores take full effect, and in-store experiences becoming paramount to survival. Here are the stores that impressed us most over the last 12 months.
We kicked off 2017 with plenty of visits to South Korea and whilst there we spotted some pretty amazing retail. The Style Nanda Pink Hotel is a real standout store that epitomises the year’s Millennial pink obsession. Inspired by Wes Anderson’s cult film The Grand Budapest Hotel, it has a lavish interior that’s the perfect setting for the brand’s idiosyncratic fashion, accessories and beauty lines.
Beauty has been a big theme at D&P this year (read about D&P loves beauty here) and WAH Nails’ ‘tech-fuelled Soho nail bar was one of the best beauty stores we came across. Here customers can personalise their nails via augmented reality and have the ability to try on numerous styles before committing to their finish. All they need to do is don a VR headset, select their desired polish and design, then either send straight it to print or to the in-store nail artists. There’s also a cocktail bar to complement the experience.
This year saw luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton turn increased attention towards the Hong Kong market. Its pop-ups in the IFC and Landmark malls highlighted a menswear collection with artists the Chapman Brothers and the launch of the new Parfumes collection respectively. From the macabre African animal graphics that loomed over the luggage-inspired facade of the men’s pop-up to the cocoon-like vial-shaped dome of perfume launch, these retail initiatives were a true visual spectacle.
Warby Parker’s latest and biggest addition to its retail growth is this Melrose, LA store. It comes heavy on customer experience with exciting visual elements including Hollywood-themed murals by artist Alai Penner and a location-specific Snapchat filter. A greenscreen room allows customers to create their own social-media friendly video with a variety of backdrops – while trying on the brand’s signature specs of course!
Just a short walk from the D&P studio is communication agency Paper Mache Tiger’s boutique that opened in April. We loved that they made the brave move to switch from PR to retail, not only adding a whole new arm to the business but also changes the relationship between them and their clients.
Danish brand Jack & Jones’ has been brave enough to lend one part of its offering its own retail space. The Jeans Intelligence Studio emphasises traditional craftsmanship and construction with knowledgeable staff that are on hand to not only educate customers on fit, design and aftercare. It will hopefully serve to build the range’s status within the competitive denim market.
Deciem, the Toronto-based self-described ‘abnormal beauty company’ recently opened its first store in Spitalfields London. Founder, Brandon Truaxe, has stated he ‘thinks the beauty industry is a scam’ and this ethos is reflected in the transparent messaging, minimal packaging and reasonably priced products starting at £4 (“there’s nothing luxurious about overpaying for commodity” says Truaxe).
From the beach trees that loom over the screens at Apple’s Regent Street hub to the petite succulents peppered throughout niche boutiques, plants were undeniably a key 2017 retail trend. Where concept stores might have once had a sparse white box-inspired interior, they are now being enlivened with hanging geraniums and spiky cacti. The hashtag #plantsonpink brings greenery and the ‘it’ hue together in one trendy space on social media.
Year on year Selfridges impresses with ever exciting initiatives, 2017’s Music Matters campaign was a reaction to the closure of 40% of London’s music venues in the last 10 years and transformed a pocket of the basement into a must-visit venue, the Ultralounge. Furthermore, of-the-moment Peckham record store Rye Wax set up shop in the men’s department and there was an abundance of cross-department merchandise to ensure the campaign was truly immersive.
The latest addition to the roster of H&M brands, Arket, translation sheet of paper in Swedish, (how minimalist!) epitomises grown up Scandi style with a mix of considered homeware and fashion. We particularly love the careful consideration given to the fabrics, their properties and where they come from – it felt like a grownup step forward for H&M.
Fashion heavyweights, department store Neiman Marcus and magazine Marie Claire and Mastercard – joined forces to bring a forward-thinking pop-up to the public. The digital elements including interactive mirrors and product displays aimed to solve customer pain points in a way that felt just right for Gen Z.
Legendary garden centre and shop Petersham Nurseries opened it’s first London outpost this summer. The boutique is filled with homeware, furniture, antiques as well as an abundance of plants, of course, however, most are indoor specimens – appropriate, as the store’s urban clientele are more likely to think of plants as home accessories. The store also offers a potting service to minimise at-home hassle, perfect for attracting customers unfamiliar with gardening.
Timberland Tree Lab, King of Prussia Mall, Pennsylvania has the ability to change every month and tell a variety of stories, transcending its role as a traditional store and morphing into something more akin to a magazine. The store’s innately live and sensorial quality gives it the potential to become a powerful media channel, a space to excite consumers about certain products and stories.
Set in a beautiful Georgian townhouse painted pink and spilling with abundant bouquets, Glossier’s pop-up was a perfect way to finish an exciting year in retail. The seamless purchase journey, coupled with the social media-friendly interior and informative sales assistants made it one of our favourite retail initiatives of the year.
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