Global shopping centre giant Westfield’s vision for the future of retail

retail branding

The future of shopping centre retail – A disruptive view.

Global entertainment brand Cirque du Soleil announced their plans recently to launch a family entertainment concept inside a Canadian shopping centre. The move reflects the shift in retail thinking as consumer continue to evolve the way they buy in an online/offline world. Cirque du Soleil’s 2,400 square meter space to be called “Creactive”, will be “a circus-inspired playground with activities from juggling to high-wire – allowing fans to peek behind the curtain and imagine themselves stepping into our artists’ shoes”, according to Marie Josée Lamy, producer of Creactive.

Shopping centres can no longer survive and thrive by merely being passive places to buy, they need to be engaging places to do.

We’re particularly interested in the changes we see happening in this category. In our 28 years of working in the branding space we have seen few shifts in consumer behavior to match the way people are changing how they buy. As this technology-driven trend continues to play out we expect to see the evolution unfold further. For many retailers, shopping centre owners, shopping strips and online retailers, changing the way they play the game is proving to be a huge challenge and a significant risk point for their futures. In the greater cycle of business, this reluctance to innovate is providing the opportunity for visionaries and disruptors to become the market leaders of tomorrow.

Global shopping centre brand; Westfield recently unveiled their vision of the shopping centre of the future. Westfield’s sense of urgency to remain relevant and investment in it’s future planning sets it apart from many others in the category. With an increased focus on customer experience, wellness, community and leisure, Westfield is looking for ways to engage with the next generation of shoppers. Innovative tech will enable what Westfield is calling the ‘Extra-perience’ to provide customers with more and personalized information for their visit.

The ‘Destination 2028’ concept includes some pretty amazing ideas such as:
• Waterways that flow through the centre and combine a choice of water sports.
• Hanging sensory gardens.
• Indoor and outdoor green spaces.
• A ‘Betterment Zone’ offering mindfulness and wellness workshops.
• Walkways featuring digital pathways, artificial intelligence and interpretive information. Eye scanners will recognize shoppers from previous visits, recall their shopping preferences and offer personalized short cuts through the centre (something IKEA could learn from).
• Drones delivering purchases.
• Stage areas will host a series of showpiece interactive activities and events.
• Smart bathrooms will offer a health diagnosis and detect the user’s hydration levels and nutritional needs (a little bit weird).
• Reading rooms with access to every book ever written.
• A ‘classroom retail’ approach will showcase the makers and processes behind any product.
• Farms offering customers the opportunity to pick their own, fresh produce.
• Temporary retail, pop-ups and co-working spaces.
• The opportunity to rent everything from clothes to exercise gear (phew?).
• Magic mirrors and smart changing rooms will show shoppers a virtual reflection of themselves wearing a range of clothes and accessories.

The Destination 2028 concept was created by a panel of experts including an experimental physiologist, a futurologist, a retail specialists and a fashion technology innovator.

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Dave Ansett
David is the founder of Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in the creation of high engagement brands that attract the attention of their audience and stand out from their competitors. David has extensive experience working with corporate, retail, food & beverage and entrepreneurial clients. Find out more here
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Pics from Cirque du Soleil & Westfield.

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