• Retail

Retail frontiers: the revolution of experience

Justin Taylor, Head of EMEA Retail

By Justin Taylor, Head of Retail EMEA, Cushman & Wakefield

Today, retail is less and less about ‘going to a shop to buy something’, as traditional retail models are slowly eroded. Shops are beginning to sell and educate around a lifestyle, more than ‘things’; for example, Rough Trade (the music shop/café/co-working space with in-store performances and events, plus beauty and homeware concessions for good measure) or Rapha (the cycling shop with a café, bar and community offering).

While these concept shops are in interesting territory when it comes to actual in-store sales, there’s no doubt that these immersive brand meccas give something back to the shopper, serving several complex functions beyond selling merchandise. Increased dwell time and brand loyalty are things all retailers are fighting for, in a world where the next generation of shoppers’ focus is what’s ‘in’ today, instead of any long-term bond with a brand. I’m talking, of course, of Millennials and Generation Z, who strive for flexible working, events, integration, collaboration and everything experiential. The key to their world is flexibility.

All in all, it’s an exciting time for the consumer. But landlords and owners alike are part of an on-going race to make sure that their developments and schemes match these changing expectations.

The main challenge owners face, especially in new-builds and redevelopments, is how to keep their mixed-use schemes one step ahead of an industry where revolutionary acts are gaining speed. Designing, planning and building now for a changing occupier market is no easy feat, yet across the globe, owners are seeing the benefits of this model. From larger schemes like London’s Battersea Power Station, a 3.5 million sq. ft. regeneration including offices, retail, arts, leisure, restaurants, residential, to smaller one-building developments, such as The Granary Building at Kings Cross, now home to Central Saint Martins Arts College as well as restaurants, offices, retail and leisure, such projects are shaping the new frontiers of success.

Here owners can learn from the mindset of Millennials and Generation Z: flexibility. The challenge is to create an environment that can be moulded and personalised, a space that grows with the occupier, which can be shared, where there is culture but most of all, a place where everyone feels connected.

This piece was initially published by ICSC at the European Design Trends Conference in Warsaw, Poland. For more information on ICSC or for more information about our role in mixed use schemes across the UK & EMEA contact Jennifer McNeil

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