6 Brands Challenging The Retail Landscape

In light of the apparent decline of in-store shopping, and subsequent rise of ecommerce buying, one thing is for sure; experiential retail is the future. Brands must be smarter in the way they approach the shop floor experience and by creating a unique experience for customers, retailers can offer a selling point, unparalleled on the ecommerce front. So, what brands are lead players in the experiential retail world?

Although Farfetch are the leading luxury ecommerce platform, they are also at the forefront of experiential retail. Founder José Neves has spoken widely of his concerns with physical retail, claiming ecommerce buying will take up a staggering 20% of sales by 2025, compared to the mere 7% is takes up now. His vision is to create a futuristic retail experience in-store using augmented reality and technological advancements. Visually, this translated into their new state of the art ‘Store of the Future’. The revolutionary location was kitted out with futuristic ideas that could propel a new generation of retail experiences. Ideas included smart mirrors that allows customers to request different sizes, alternative products or even pay without leaving the dressing room. Visions of sign-in stations that collate and analyse data collected from consumers online, enable sales assistants more of a holistic understanding of the customer. The innovation has lead them to be dubbed ‘the Retail of the Future”.

Late Nigh Chameleon Café epitomises the development of experiential retail. On an appointment only basis you can view and buy a range of eco-aware items from mainstream designers and new talent that aim to “uphold their ethos of expression, integrity and honesty”. Customers can also relax in the luxurious library stocked with first editions whilst also dabble in the exclusive range of vinyls on sale. Amongst all of this is a bar and club space serving a selection of all-natural drink, reinforcing the eco-friendly messaging running through the whole store.

Many people won’t know the mission TOMs have been on to improve the world; since the start of their One For One campaign, they have given over 86 million pairs of shoes to children in need, restored the sight of over 600,000 people, given more than 600,000 weeks of safe water to struggling families and supported in excess of 175,000 mothers with safe births. In 2015, TOMS placed VR headsets in most of their stores to enable customers to be visually transported to Peru, to see the impact of the campaign on local people. Not only does this improve the awareness of their social corporate responsibility, it also offers an incredibly immersive experience for all customers that visit.

Sophia Webster
Having taken the past few years by storm, she expanded her solo Mount Street boutique by adding a second space on Sloane Avenue that looks to be significantly more than just a shop. On the ground floor, one can expect to see the latest drops from the brands stunning footwear collections including styles exclusive to the store. Then, downstairs, Webster has opened a by appointment beauty treatments and bridal appointments facility that includes a full nail and blow dry salon. Webster said, “From the initial thought process behind a design to how she feels when she first steps out in our shoes, I want it to be memorable and seamless from start to finish. I want us to host bridal parties, bridesmaid fittings, VIP shopping evenings and even mother and daughter shopping days. From the nail bar to the blow-dry salon, it's all about creating an experience."

Matchesfashion.com is a leading global powerhouse for ecommerce retail, showing no signs of slowing down. Their latest move to enhance the retail experience was the opening of 5 Carlos Place; a state-of-the-art retail, event and creative space that stretches across five stories. Celebrating the inauguration of the store, Matchesfashion.com collaborated with Prada to launch an exclusive collection consisting of 80 womenswear pieces and 30 menswear pieces. Covering ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear, the collaboration will be exhibited over two floors and complemented by an expansive installation comprising of animations, projections and moving images, all devised by Storey Studio. Not only has the store become home to more collaborations, it has also been used as a hub for cultural events, interactive podcasts and immersive live streams.

Living up to the company motto of “off the wall”, The House of Vans in London is a location that entwines art, music, BMX street culture and skateboarders in the name of fashion. Designed by skaters, the location boasts a cinema, café, live music and a art gallery, as well as unique products from their latest drops. The most spectacular feature, however, must be the mini ramp and street course in the basement. With specific sessions allocated for BMX riders and skaters, customers are actively encouraged to walk in on the day; creating the perfect experiential experience.