Shopping Experience Set for Fresh Boost

Posted on February 10, 2016 by Bud Morris

Shopping Experience Set for Fresh Boost

Posted on February 10, 2016 by Bud Morris

future retailWe’re in the midst of a(nother) seriously transformational retail shift that marks what might well be “the most exciting time in retail history.”

So swoons Myf Ryan, the chief marketing officer for Westfield UK and Europe, a retail behemoth that’s just published “How We Shop Now: What’s Next?

This report, which identifies five key trends of the future shopping scene, hones in on a range of looming contextual influences, including the sharing economy, reinvention of retail spaces and virtual reality.

The five key themes are:

Rental Retail: Why buy stuff when you can rent it? So goes this predicted trend, supported by the following stats:

  • 15% of Americans are interested in renting from their favourite stores;
  • 35% of 25-34-year-olds want to rent merchandise;
  • 17% of consumers want to rent exercise equipment;
  • 15% want to rent consumer electronics;
  • 11% want to rent furniture.

Sensory Retail: Consumers want a full blast of extra-sensory enhancement layered onto their shopping experience.

  • Shoppers want vision, touch, smell and sound (in that order) to kick shopping up a notch.

Enhanced Reality Retail: Virtual reality will move into the forefront of retail, as shoppers demand it to understand how products will work for them specifically.

  • 42% of Americans want to use new technologies, including virtual reality headsets, to experience how products will look in their home;
  • 33% are interested in using this technology to foresee how clothes will look on them.

Socially Aware Loyalty Programs: More than just accumulating points for use, loyalty programs will reward consumers for smart choices.

  • 21% say they’d like to be rewarded for good choices including recycling (23%), exercising (23%), spending time with family (20%) and eating well (16%).

Classroom Retail: Shoppers want not only to make purchases in retail spaces, but to learn new skills and build social networks there.

  • 32% are interested in attending a “lifestyle lesson” at their favourite store;
  • 29% want health/fitness sessions and 27% want creative cookery;
  • Over a fifth of U.S. shoppers in New York (22%), Los Angeles (23%), San Francisco (22%) and San Diego (21%) are interested in sessions involving skills development, such as music making.

Westfield Corporation, whose US$28-billion interests in 34 shopping centres in the US and UK encompass about 6,400 stores, based its report on feedback from 13,000+ shoppers and experts.