Defining the Future: 15 Trends, Innovations and Unconventional Uses in the Material Industry 2022
There is now an increased importance that retail now plays in giving narrative to a brand’s sustainability story, something that has become more important to consumers during the pandemic. A global study by Accenture found that 67 per cent of the public believe that companies can ‘build back better’ if they invest in longer-term, sustainable and fair solutions. ‘As stores set to move forward with their post-COVID-19 strategies, it is important for retailers to prioritize long-term goals for the environment and the use of sustainable materials in their retail design as they lay out the micro-steps for recovery within their short-term strategies’, argues director of retail design agency Sheridan & Co Freddie Sheridan.
The minimalist language of crisp lines and an all-white colour palette at the ZS Lab flagship store create an immersive, contemplative space that channels an efficient shopper journey.
Rationalized retail experiences
For everyday items, that means a move away from circuitous, serendipity-focused spaces towards those that emphasize hyper-efficient shopper journeys. As Will Broome, CEO of retail technologist Ubamarket, put it: “. . .Despite the havoc that is being caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus, I believe that the crisis is bringing into focus a number of pre-existing problems with the way in which we shop, such as complicated and constantly changing store layouts and confusion about where products are.” The public agreed. McKinsey’s July Periscope report found that being able to find products in-store quickly and easily had increased as a priority for customers across all monitored territories, being valued by 65 per cent of consumers in Singapore, 59 per cent in Indonesia, 52 per cent in China and 47 per cent in South Korea.
A 2019 Louis Vuitton menswear pop-up in New York City, imagined by Virgil Abloh.
One of the main strategic benefits of the pop-up has been its ability to test not only new concepts, but new markets. That’s been particularly important this year as significant portions of many brands’ customer bases relocate to ex-urban enclaves. With the usual long-term tenants either pulling out or scaling back on expansion plans, retail zones that were previously hostile to the pop-up concept are now looking to it to revitalize their image. This has been true in some of the world’s most feted luxury shopping streets. As bastions of tradition rather than experimentation, the pop-up’s “move fast and break things” ethos didn’t quite meet code. But with commercial real estate vacancies mounting, landlords are having to rethink that.