New retail concepts
In recent years, retail has experienced a surprising jump, particularly in France where all boutiques seemed to be interchangeable. Nowadays, retail is rife with innovative concepts, thanks to a rethinking of the physical settings and offering up true user experiences. Between refreshing new services and the appearance of new target audiences, here’s a look at the new retail concepts!
Be savvy about specialising
It’s a fact that more and more concepts are pivoting toward something that is not always easy to predict, but that has thus far borne fruit: specialising. Ever since Colette revolutionised the world of retail, in 1997, more and more sales spaces are embracing product diversity.
Nowadays, beyond mere fashion, plenty of concept-stores are pushing a strong identity. Some examples are les Boudeuses, on rue Saint-Denis (Paris), which touts unique pieces, “home furnishing” boutiques for certain big brands, or JBC, whose K’dee concept is based on a single target, and one that is not always well represented: children.
Indeed, every sector now seems to have its concept. The attempts are paying off handsomely, and the reward is an increasingly richer proposition of products adapted to every profile. Something to think about moving forward!
Personalising the experience
Today, not a single boutique exists that hasn’t rethought the customer experience, tweaked down to the tiniest details. We’re now used to seeing open spaces, often built to accommodate other functions: adaptable open space settings, photo studios, yoga rooms, etc. In Paris, DiX has perfectly assimilated this new approach as, in addition to its boutique, it also offers a nail bar and a space purely dedicated to pop-ups.
The spaces themselves tend to be overwhelmingly minimalist, to keep the customer’s focus on the product, but that’s not all. In fact, in addition to keeping the focus on the items being presented, there’s also a focus on the story, the creative process and the design behind them.
This is why the ability to personalise the product being sold is increasingly important. A brand discovered on a trip, a product with a personal story, upcycled materials; these are the main pillars of some new retail concepts. This is also why stores are being increasingly referred to as “experience spaces.”
What better way to stimulate desire in a boutique than to regularly update the offer? Beyond being experience spaces, retail spaces are also places for discovery, which allow customers to learn about new designers or new fashion concepts. Here, too, DiX represents this type of new concept, by selling mainly young designers. By basing itself on an identity of eco-responsibility, a relatively restrained choice, and frequent artist collaborations, the “experience” part of the equation is constantly renewed and perfectly corresponds to the new stakes.
In the same perspective, the feeling of desire is titillated by innovations like the Drive or self-service concepts. & Other Stories has understood this perfectly, reflected by the automatic perfume dispenser it has set up in the Parisian Galeries Lafayette department store.
Know how to use language
Above all, retail is all about finding a voice, one in which the customer can identify him or herself. As of now, online commerce occupies a non-negligible part of our behaviours and our buying habits, which is why if you want to incite a customer to make the effort to come and see you in person, you must know how to express it.
It doesn’t take long to realise that the new retail concepts would not exist without language. Take a look at the Sézane apartment whose image alone makes the viewer feel like they are coming home to a warm and cozy setting. In the same way, the “store of the future” opened by Veja in Bordeaux reflects what the brand itself calls “the green economy.” The extra soulful touch? To really exemplify the concept, the boutique has a dedicated space for collecting and recycling used pieces, offers lower priced “slightly flawed” sneakers and even has a shoemaker’s workshop. When actions follow words, it’s hard not to sign on.
Hence, retail is now imbued with an air of innovation, albeit constrained because of the new behaviours driven by digital technology, including in the world of fashion. Between making customers feel like they exist as individuals, offering the playful aspect of a genuine experience, or giving customers the impression of being in a space that is truly alive; it all contributes to making retail a challenge that can be constantly renewed and improved in upcoming years.
Photography : COMME un camion / Octobre / Horace / Dix