9 Trends for Future Luxury Retail
Updated: Mar 27, 2021
Before the pandemic, the retail was already undergoing massive changes, at a slow but undeniable pace. The integration of digital into physical stores; the rise of the experiential luxury (the luxury department stores were leading the way, renovating their space & offer to make it more of a destination and experience rather than just a transaction); luxury retail opening stores in new and different neighborhoods; the omnichannel approach.
The pandemic did not only confirm all those trends but definitely accelerated most of them - just forcing retailers to find new ways of reaching the customers and pivoting from a physical experience to a 100% virtual one sometimes - or to an hybrid one when possible, with customers booking appointments in the store for example.
"[...] Loro Piana chief executive Fabio d’Angelantonio says that 2020 served as an “accelerator of relationship permission”, with customers becoming more interested in brands they relate to. “The store and your sales associate remain the heart of the relationship,” he says, but “it’s much broader today. I would never have expected to have a sales Zoom”. Virtual-meeting sales with an associate in a store and a customer at home are now common. - Source : Vogue Business (January 20201)
Tailored shopping experiences
VIP services; online shopping mixed with gallery-like installations to entertain ; dynamic pricing; on the spot offers… Post pandemic, retail space will be more and more used in many different ways: dedicated zones for trying on, returns and recycling areas. Curbside and click-and-collect services are now being integrated into the retail space too.
Sales associates and brand ambassadors at the heart of the shopper's experience As we were all forced into a virtual world almost overnight, deprived of any human interaction for weeks, sales teams (via new comms channels like whatsapp, wechat etc) became more important than ever to deliver the brand's experience ; sharing the brand's values and messaging in human terms, leveraging the heritage, values and sustainability issues to tell the brand story with authenticity and authority. They represent the incredibly important missing (human) link between the store experience as we knew it and the e-commerce platform that represents convenience. Just like that, luxury brands invented virtual personal shopping. Livestreaming, virtual show rooms, virtual buying events... the potential is endless.
Aligning with the cultural fabric of the city, it offers a way for stores to deliver storytelling to the customer on a deeper level.
One in five consumers cited customisation as a relevant and important factor to them when buying luxury products according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group and Altagamma.
Wealth is health
With health-focused spending expected to increase by 17% to reach $833bn by 2020, wellbeing is set to become a luxury status symbol. In the future, luxury department stores will not only supply products and services that support healthy living, but they will actively augment a sense of wellbeing.
More and more pop-ups will offer various categories as well as in-store lectures, product launch events, live podcast recordings, restaurants, bars, co-work space, you name it. Interestingly, digital-born luxury companies are opening physical stores to increase traffic to their e-Comm stores, to provide the touch-and-feel lacking in an online store, and eventually improve the local community's engagement.
Consumers don’t care about online or offline; what they want is a seamless experience. It's not the end of brick-and-mortar, it's not just one or another, it's a shopping journey throughout the touchpoints that a brand will make available to its customers.
While online retail offers hyper convenience, department stores are responding by offering the exact opposite, slowing down the visitor by encouraging a more creative shopping journey. The retail is not just a place where a transaction happen anymore. More and more it is going to become a destination. A place where you interact with the brand's lifestyle, where you work, where you meet your friends, have a tea or a drink, where your read, where you visit an exhibition... We already see it happening with luxury department stores, but it is going to become the new norm for the brands' stores too.
"In Manhattan, Chanel’s Soho store Atelier Beauté, for example, is less about displaying product, than bringing it to life through makeup ‘artists-in-residence’, designated spaces for experimentation, minimalist product displays and a content creation room with Instagram-approved lighting. In the same neighbourhood, Gucci’s screening room, café and a bookshop augment its collections." - Source : CEGID 2021
Credit : Selfridge's
From retail to hospitality
More and more of those luxury locations & retailers will include a bar, restaurant, cafe, or any other concept allowing customers to stop, relax and enjoy their time in the department store
Credit : Louis Vuitton - Cafe V, in Louis Vuitton's Ginza Namiki Store #LVGinza (https://eu.louisvuitton.com/eng-e1/magazine/articles/le-cafe-v)
Sources & additional reading