Beyond Retail was put to paper (or screen) in 2010, but is more of a
constant, continuing study of the future of retail, how consumers are
changing and how innovative retailers need to adapt to meet their needs
and inspire them.
We have been observing the radical twists and turns of the retail
industry since LS:N Global began. Starting in 2010, four
retail-focused macrotrends have charted the innovation, progression and
transformation of this sector:
Our Beyond Retail
macrotrend reports on the rise of multi-channel and experiential retail
as consumers become bored of stale shopping environments.
The Tomorrow Store
macrotrend continues the research into the future of retail. It
investigates the challenges faced by retailers to lure consumers back in-store in the wake of the e-commerce revolution. The report examines those
in the industry who are getting it right by being social, we-orientated,
theatrical, informed and inline.
This is followed by The Dawn of the Mega-systems
macrotrend, which explores the influence that mega-brands such as Apple,
Amazon, Facebook, Weibo and Google are having not only on our shopping
habits, but on our lives.
Our most recent piece of research into the future of retail is The Convergence Economy, which explores the increasingly blurred lines between retail spaces, hospitality, products and entertainment.
Click through the sections on this page to see how our retail macrotrends have been manifest since 2010.
Urban Outfitters creates Space 15 Twenty in a former lighting
warehouse. The space features mini-shops selling a curated
selection of other brands’ products to give the store the feeling of a
Key Development: Brands are collaborating with their contemporaries, behaving not just as stockists, but as community hubs.
sweet shop opens in Tokyo. The space is designed to enable customers to watch
the caramel artisans at work, giving them a sensorial experience. LS:N Global calls this idea Worker Theatre.
Key Development: Retailers are turning elements of their factory processes into interactive or educational displays, creating a new sense of theatre for shoppers.
creates an app for the iPhone that guides visitors around the store as
well as giving them information on products and the store’s history.
Harrods iPhone app is an exciting new way for us to further engage with
our customers,’ said then store image director Mark Briggs. ‘With its useful tools and services, the Harrods app
is set to become a vital part of the shopping experience at the store.’
Key Development: Customers are using their mobile phones in-store to check prices and information before making purchases.
design firm Wonderwall, in collaboration with Tyler Brûlé of branding
consultancy Winkreative, design Man on the Boon in Seoul. The menswear store concept is based on a fictional character, signalling the rise of Personality Brands in future-facing retail design.
Key Development: Embracing fictional characters helps brands to better connect with consumers, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Consumers on Facebook, for example, are more likely to bond with a character or persona than a company page.
In a partnership with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Louis Vuitton created an all-encompassing, immersive campaign including seven unique locations and pop-up stores across the globe – all this alongside awe-inspiring shop windows, an iPhone app, a coffee table book and a gamified viral video.
Key Development: The success of Louis Vuitton’s campaign has been to make each pop-up shop newsworthy, generating excitement. Consumers flocked to see the store designs as much as the products.
the diffusion brand from Alexander McQueen, opens its first store in London’s Dover Street, which features interactive technology such as a Stikus
table and a social media-connected mirror to
enable digital Millennials to connect in-store.
Key Development: Retail is being transformed via digital interactive experiences.
Topshop The Future of the Fashion Show with Google
Luxury car brand Lexus makes its first foray into luxury retail with Intersect by Lexus. The space includes specially crafted products inspired by the car brand, as well as a bistro, a café and an exhibition space where a Lexus car and other artwork are on display.
Key Development: Brands are turning showrooms into social spaces that move away from core products to offer curated experiences.
Melbourne shop Sneakerboy opens, taking a page out of the online retail book. The store doesn’t hold inventory on-site so after paying, customers are sent their purchases within three days. There is no cash register – shoppers make their purchase via a Sneakerboy app either on their phones or on an in-store iPad.
Key Development: Without stock to shift, Sneakerboy can switch its products with the flexibility of an online store. ‘We’ve been able to present online-type collections in physical spaces,’ says founder Chris Kyvetos.
Fashion designer Gareth Pugh presents his work through virtual reality headset Oculus Rift at department store Selfridges. The Monolith installation was played in a small, sound-proofed chamber inside the store.
Key Development: The experience demonstrates how retailers can connect with consumers artfully and emotionally, even in very small spaces.
Bridging the physical-digital divide, customers could access an online pop-up by reaching a predetermined location activated by their mobile’s GPS. Once in the correct location, the virtual store could be activated via a mobile device and free products from the brand was reward for their endeavours.
Key Development: Brands are creating Phygital experiences that challenge people to be active participants in the brand as opposed to passive consumers.
A new take on radical transparency from Everlane places conscious consumption centre stage, with panel discussions, dinners, factory tours and safaris that take consumers behind the scenes of neighbourhood businesses.
Key Development: Retailers are connecting with consumers through convivial events that seek to demystify the supply chain in a true show of transparency.
As part of an effort to reach Millennial women, Nike launched an original eight-part web series that follows the lives of Margot and Lily – two sisters on a quest for fitness and friendship. A short workout video lead by Lily complements each video and can be shopped via the brand’s weekly newsletter.
Key Development: As the boundaries between content and commerce continue to blur, retailers are creating shoppable native content to engage and entertain consumers.
837 is not a store, according to Samsung, but a digital playground. Located in New York’s Meatpacking district, the building, designed by creative studio Wonderwall, features a virtual reality tunnel, recording studio, three-storey video screen and dedicated digital art gallery. A next-generation kitchen and living room will be used to demonstrate the future of the smart home.
Key Development: Retail stores are being re-imagined as fully immersive cultural centres and brand embassies.
Kit and Ace is inviting guests at luxury hotels in cities including London, New York and Melbourne to shop for its collection from the comfort of their hotel foyer. In London, the Tom Dixon-designed Mondrian hotel hosted the Carry-on pop-up for one week in April, while in Chicago, guests at Soho House were invited to add some Technical Cashmere to their luggage.
Key Development: Hotels are increasingly used by mid-market brands to offer intimate collection previews and try-ons to globe-trotting travellers.
The idea for a Mountain Festival grew from the success of the brand’s 2015 event The NightRay Outdoor Festival. The retailer says it is not using the event as a way to sell merchandise, but for marketing purposes and to generate buzz on social media, helping it to track its reach and engagement online.
Key Development: Retailers are creating festivals that enable consumers to experience their products without being pressured to buy them, and using the events to gather data and generate content.
Siam Discovery by Nendo, Bangkok. Photography by Takumi Ota
Siam Discovery is a new flagship store from the Siam Piwat retail group that focuses on brand experience. The space is divided into several distinct areas, including a digital laboratory, creative laboratory and play laboratory. This identity is further reflected in design details such as beakers and molecular structures. The concept store will house leading brands alongside more experimental offerings from artists.
Key Development: In the digital age, physical retail is no longer just about selling products, but about offering consumers opportunities to discover and express themselves in a brand environment.
Customers are invited to experience the Sonos suite of products in a more personal setting and encouraged to take their time. With its team of interior designers Sonos created seven rooms, including a kitchen, living room and study, giving customers a sense of how its speakers will look and sound in their own homes.
Key Development: Retailers are creating home-like environments in-store to offer consumers more realistic contexts in which to trial their products.
The new Everlane Fit Studio is heavily influenced by the technological efficiencies afforded by Silicon Valley. Rather than aggressive shop assistants, shoppers are greeted by a discreet concierge who takes their bags and payment details. Clothing sizes are displayed on birch plywood racks so that customers can shop independently. The store’s up-front check-in system reduces the final check-out time to 30 seconds, according to Everlane.
Key Development: Retailers are combining the seamlessness of online shopping with the sense of discovery that only physical stores can provide.
The company has collaborated with DDK to open a range of boutique hotels. Five locations have been announced for 2018. The collaboration taps into the sharing economy, with each hotel reflecting the craft, cuisine and culture of its respective neighbourhood. Guests can purchase items from the West Elm collection at check-out, pushing the boundaries of the try-before-you-buy model.
Key Development: Homeware brands are increasingly opening hospitality businesses as a means of offering consumers more immersive ways to try their products.
The pop-up shop is designed to appeal to a younger demographic. Unlike Hermès’ usual stores, where the products are housed in glass showcases, the emphasis in the pop-up shop is on touch. The focus at Nordstrom Welcome Hermès is on all things tactile, encouraging consumers to feel the luxurious nature of the materials before they buy.
Key Development: Luxury brands are altering their traditionally reserved retail ethos in order to appeal to a growing group of affluent young Millennials.