Best of 2019: Overseas retail
It’s always inspiring to see what retailers are doing in other markets around the world, with new technologies and trends often embraced in the US, Europe and Asia before making landfall in Australia.
Here are some of our favourite stories about international retail from the last 12 months.
From exclusive brands handpicked for the Shanghai market and an on-site food station, to a smaller store format specifically catering to Chinese consumer habits, Aldi China launched its two pilot stores in Shanghai in June, designed by Australian agency Landini Associates.
The two stores, located in the Jing’an and Minhang districts, allow the German grocery retailer to test and trial retail strategies for the local community, then adjust them according to data and feedback from customers.
Here we are in the era of immersive reality, which includes augmented reality (overlaying digital content on the user’s physical environment), virtual reality (putting the user into a totally digital environment), and mixed reality (which blends the real and virtual worlds).
In retail, beginning with brand experiences, immersive reality is increasingly being used for product trial.
US-based outdoor retailer The North Face hashad the same tagline for the past 50 years: never stop exploring. But does that motto still make sense for the brand in 2019? A lot has changed since The North Face founders started making clothes to sell to their friends in the 1960s. The team realised it needed to redefine the meaning of exploration in a modern context.
At its best, European metropolitan retail is simply a statement, and having looked more closely last month at Milan and London retail, I can say that is has never been more evident than in the central business districts of these great cities.
From the tri-level gastronomic magical mystery tour of Eataly, to the Willy Wonka factory otherwise known as Starbucks’ Roastery, to the Apple store entrance with its fountain of water heralding you to the “Church of Retail”, retailers in these cities use vertical space to dominate and envelop the senses.
For some Californians, 2018 started not with a bang, but a blunt, after the sale of recreational marijuana finally became legal in the Golden State.
On January 1, the day the new law took effect, people lined up outside the 90 or so licensed dispensaries throughout the state to purchase cannabis products using nothing more than a photo ID and cash.
“We had customers from all walks of life – everyone from a 21-year-old college student to an elderly retiree looking for pain relief,” said Zachary Lazarus, managing director of A Green Alternative, a licensed dispensary in San Diego.
We talk a lot about the purpose of stores in the industry. The words experience, convenience, friction, speed and sustainability are all part of the language of our lives.
Experience is the buzzword that just keeps on buzzing and used with wild abandon to describe just about anything at all. But what does it really mean when it comes to retail right now?
Well I’m going to show you. Here were some of my highlights from a recent trip to Shanghai and Tokyo.
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