Store Formats and the Future

Melissa Gonzalez and Alison Medina of design:retail speak about the latest trends in retail and what to expect in the future.

On this Tuesday Talks we had the chance to speak with Alison Medina, Editor and Chief of design:retail  magazine on all things retail and what we expect in the future. The magazine is the trusted industry voice for retail designers, educating on how design and innovation can live together to make better store experiences.

We asked Alison what are some the of most intriguing store formats the magazine has covered this year. Her top two happen to be two cover stories this past year, the first being the August cover story Fluid. Fluid is a one-off store located in NYC, and the only store of its kind to identify as gender neutral. Not only is Fluid a retail store, but it is also a community center and hub. Alison says that it is an empowering moment that retail gets to be the centerpiece for a movement. The second most intriguing store format is the October cover story Nike Live. Alison acknowledges that Nike is a leader in innovative store formats but whats different about this particular store is that it was built to mimic the Nike app. The advantages of Nike’s live format store is real time data. They are able to effectively merchandise at the store based off of what is selling in that market. According to Alison, technologies like this will really change how stores are formatted in the future.

Melissa and Alison continue to talk about the integration of technology and how its improving the efficiency of store operations. With RFID tracking and solid back-of-house systems companies are able to streamline the customer experience. Alison says that technologies such as RFID tracking is one of the most effective technologies to help plan a store. The key for retailers is to be able to convert their data to strategy. “I’ve got 99 problems, and RFID isn’t one”, Alison jokes. Retailers that are currently on Alison’s watch list are Whole Foods with its Amazon acquisition and Kroger with its Click List. Integrating technology like this caters to the “instant society”  we live in today.

Lastly, we asked Alison how she thinks pop-ups have influenced permanent retail. She says that pop-ups allow a level of experimentation that retailers can’t normally do in permanent stores but, we are seeing permanent stores integrate the pop-up mentality. This tends to be seen in small areas of stores that bring in pop-up vendors or even a corner of the store that gets outfitted and charged out every three months to stay current with the brand. Alison herself makes it a point to see as many pop-ups as she can while she’s in NYC for the holidays.

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