Ten predictions for the future high street

Brand consultancy Fitch has illustrated a vision of the high street exclusively for Marketing Week. The numbers correspond to the illustrations below.

future

1. By providing multiple services in one location, stores will place themselves at the heart of the community. FamilyMart in Japan is catering for an ageing and less mobile population by introducing services such as banking, train tickets and pharmacy in neighbourhood stores.

2. Virtual stores will increasingly be used to maximise availability in a versatile and cost-effective way, combined with the convenience of home delivery. Grocery retailer Peapod in the US has announced plans to establish virtual stores in transport hubs.

3. Smart billboards and targeted ads will tap into shoppers’ moments of downtime and engage them with personalised content.

4. ‘Nomadic’ mobile retail will reach out to under-served audiences, where a permanent presence would be uneconomic. Japanese supermarket Lawson introduced mobile convenience stores in the wake of the earthquake in 2011 and has continued the initiative.

5. Driven by a desire to stay in shoppers’ minds and build loyalty with customers, digital brands will adopt more pop-up strategies that invite exploration. EBay, for example, opened a pop-up store in London’s Covent Garden for a weekend in the run-up to Christmas when online orders traditionally peak.

future

6. Retailers will develop 24-hour, self-service collection lockers in high-traffic locations. In Australia, for example, supermarket chain Coles is trying out refrigerated lockers where online shoppers can retrieve their order by way of a pin number.

7. With retail space no longer dedicated purely to sales per square metre, play and storytelling will be a stronger means to educate and entertain shoppers. Adidas NEO stores in Germany bring social media into the store with elements such as ‘Share Your Look’ mirrors.

8. Many stores will become ‘brand playgrounds’ that prompt people to dream about lifestyle possibilities, while the buying process is completed online. Nike’s FuelStation at Boxpark in East London with its treadmills, motion-sensor digital walls and interactive mirrors is less concerned with selling product and more focused on creating a rich brand experience.

9. The blurring of daily routines and the squeeze on free time will continue to heighten the appeal of vending machines offering much more than just snacks. American food chain Kroger installed a robotic vending store on the campus of Ohio Northern University, offering 200 items and operating 24/7.

10. Innovative retailers and local authorities will help the high street regain its role as a community space where people are encouraged to meet and socialise. KitKat in Holland has offered shoppers a moment of downtime with its tongue-in-cheek offer of ‘No Wi-Fi Zones’. Mobile signals are jammed in the seating area allowing people to socialise and relax. Similarly, Selfridges has created a Silence Room where people can go to unwind.

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