Future Retail: the Resurgence of the StoreMay 13, 2018
Drapers takes a look forward to the trends and technology that will define the direction of stores for the next 100 years of fashion retail.
Even if we’re not old enough to remember, perhaps the black and white films we’ve watched or the stories we’ve been fed by our grandparents make us feel nostalgic for the golden days of retail, when high streets were crammed with independent stores and walking into a store, to be greeted by the owner by name, made you feel all warm and lovely inside.
The idea of this level of customer service – where customers are not a blank face but people whose lives and stories shop staff know inside out – is still a focal point of many independents today, and that’s what makes them such a treat to visit. But as many retailers expanded, they lost this magic. Personal customer service shot out the window as quickly as UK-produced goods.
In a world where we walk into stores with our headphones in, is a return to those glory days possible?
Certainly, says Matthew Drinkwater, head of the Innovation Agency at London College of Fashion, who predicts a return to a more traditional way of retailing: “When you go to an independent coffee shop regularly, the staff know your name and remember what you like to order. When that happens, it makes you feel good. That kind of emotional connection to stores has been missing on the high street. It’s very difficult for retailers to replicate that on a big scale.”