A PEEK AT FUTURISTIC RETAIL – IN THE HERE AND NOW by Kim Coston

A PEEK AT FUTURISTIC RETAIL – IN THE HERE AND NOW

Heady entertainment and storytelling plus super-service in-stores, online and mobile, are more and more fantastic as retailers try to stave off online super-competitors.

Recently, venerable Saks Fifth Avenue New York created a new, other-worldly in-store experience, shaking off their fussy traditional demeanor. The second floor ready-to-wear department transformed into The Wellery, a futuristic spa concept with a passel of new-age products and services, sprawls over 16,000+ square feet. Perhaps the most rad thing going on is ConBody, a bootcamp fitness class taught by ex-convicts.

Afterwards, one cools down quaffing avocado juice and contemplating noninvasive cosmetic surgery body contouring called Cool Sculpting that freezes off the fat ConBody couldn’t work off.

The psychedelic neon salt chamber “Breathe” soothes and detoxifies with fuchsia-golden lighting changes, nature soundtracks and mists of reinvigorating Pink Himalayan salt.

A Somadome pod will soon provide LED color therapy, binaural beat meditation, and energy healing microcrystalline tiles for optimal restoration.

Exclusive niche products like the hip Martone bicycles, Decorté Vi-Fusion — an elixir that visibly strengthens, regenerates and empowers skin, or bootcamp-wear by Alala, Phat Buddha, Beyond Yoga extend the future vibe. Not exactly a pop-up, The Wellery will come down for the total store renovation later this year that may see the top floors of SFA become ultra luxe condo spaces.

Future fashion retail innovators set the pace. The unbeatably cool Burberry and Prada Epicenter flagship store concepts happened in 2012, and 2001, respectively.

Burberry World Live aka flagship stores, mimicked website technology and are wired for instant service and constant innovation. Clothes embedded with RFID chips allow customers to watch garments as worn on the catwalk, or how it was made. Concerts and exhibits are programmed regularly.

Perhaps the first truly wild, retail future concepts were Prada’s 2001 mindboggling Epicenters that create all-new luxury shopping experiences, with technology, architecture, interactive audio and sensory. Los Angeles and New York, the only epicenters in the U.S., are exceptionally endowed with exotic gadgetry and services, including touch-screens and RFID tags.

Futurist and marketing maven Faith Popcorn of BrainReserve says
the next big thing is customer-centric consultainment, combining ultra-convenience, consumption and entertainment into super-customized concierge and on-demand services.

Happening now in China, automated convenience store chain Bingbox powers stores with WeChat wallets, enabling customers to shop by scanning QR codes and pay for purchases. No checkout, no cash, no salespeople. Alibaba’s Taobao app using facial and voice recognition to track purchases, automatically generates bills when customers are biometrically identified at cash-out.

Ready or not, the future of retail is here.

Information
Books
All books are available at amazon.com. Click on title to learn more.
Re-Inventing Retailing
by Doug Stearn
The Future of Retail: Here to There in Tech Times
by Elias Amash
Dictionary of the Future
by Faith Popcorn


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