The Morning Post:- 27th March
Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing
Fresh back from viewing the advance guard at the extension to the Westfield London centre in White City. It is already impressive and will be spectacular, I have no doubt, when all the stores are open in a month or two.
What you see in the first openings from retailers such as Lush, White Company, West Elm, Boots, Currys, and of course the showcase John Lewis, is a real and tangible response to the pressures put on stores through the migration of sales to online.
In this omnichannel environment these retailers have reacted in positive ways to some of the key considerations that will drive commercial success.
Firstly, these store offer experience and theatre. Visually, but also through every sense, these stores are very cleverly leveraging smell, sound, touch and human interaction to attract and enthral customers in a way that online simply cannot.
Secondly, we are seeing collaborations across all boundaries to facilitate this experience. In the centre extension as a whole we see stores, food and leisure from bowling bars to indoor cycling, coming together to attract customers and prolong their visit.
Within each retailer we are not just seeing the relatively easy marriage between retail and coffee bar, but international retailers combining with local suppliers, department store assortment buyers collaborating with new designers and different category propositions sharing space to attract a common customer.
Thirdly, an evolution of assortments to move away from selling generic and widely available products and the clutches of Amazon, with own-brand taking on a new urgency, combined with an explosion of sub-branding and exclusively developed ranges.
And finally, a genuine realisation that store staff are your brand. In Westfield there is an energy in every store, testimony to new ways of engaging, inspiring and motivating workforces there for the customers delight and benefit.
So, look forward to more insights from me on Westfield, and why not also give the retail brands a hand, and get down to Westfield, sooner rather than later.
As a customer enjoy and immerse yourself, and as a retailer admire and learn.
These are concerning times in UK retail, so really refreshing to report back on something so positive. And on a beautiful Spring day what could be better than literally seeing the new shoots of the retail industry reinventing itself?
Light not so much at the end of a tunnel but all around wherever you look.
The Morning Post aims to share with you insights of retail clarity …offering some relevant thoughts and ideas to keep you warm and enthused on your journey into each retail day.
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