January 3, 2013

A World of Possibilities

Well hello there 2013! As we discussed in our last post of the year, 2012 was all about change! With a new year, comes new expectations so what do we have to look forward to?

As e-commerce continues to boom, forecasters expect a 20% rise in apparel and accessory sales this coming year. We will see more fashion related companies move into China and new talent emerge, from Beijing specifically, as we continue to understand far eastern cultures. India will be another hotspot as retailers like Sephora begin to open up shop. Overall, our entire retail experience will be revolutionized with new technology, fresh concepts and innovative products.

photo via Wanelo.com

Rather than shopping on individual online stores, new peer-to-peer sites (and apps) like Wanelo.com will emerge. These sites act as massive shopping search engines for an abundance of products from hundreds of e-commerce shops which offer new features that curate based on your preferences as well as the ability to save your favorite items for future purchases. Some like fashioningchange.com even go as far as directing shoppers strictly to eco-friendly and ethical brands versus more mainstream and recognizable labels.

photo via WWD

While, we're bored of all the designer collaborations, it's now being updated as high-low retailers pair up to share resources and offer exclusive collections that reaches double the market share. We've seen Neiman Marcus and Target as well as Nordstrom and Topshop, and now you can add Gap and Intermix to the list! Intermix is looking to connect with a strong retailer to increase its international presence and with Gap's recent turnaround, global know-how and merchandising expertise, they are the perfect contender.

photo via NY Times

We will be seeing more online shops go offline with both brick and mortar and pop-up style shops acting as showrooms and pushing branding. In 2012, Etsy, Piperlime and Refinery 29, all shifted from the digital arena to create a real life experience. While customers may be loyal to these online shops, some still prefer to see what they are buying in person. These type of online/offline stores create more than just a physical space but an entire social experience. So who can we expect next? We're crossing our fingers that ASOS will open up in the U.S. later this year, so keep an eye out!

photo via ft.com

Speaking of social experiences, brick and mortar retailers across the board are looking to bring you something unique, whether it be a dance party, avant garde displays, lunch, spa treatment or a private members only club. According to Dunhill's Global Marketing Director, Jason Beckley, "It's all about creating a space where people want to spend time. About staff knowing customers' names and how they take their coffee or whisky, in a place they can invite friends and stay the whole day."

video via Lacoste

With all of today's technology and urgency for convenience, we are very particular about how, when and where we spend our time and retailers are learning how to adapt to this like Lacoste's new interactive campaign or with digital sizing software like Virtusize, Fits.me, True Fit or Bloomingdale's denim seeker tool for instance. Even the theatre has transformed with the growth of more audience participation type plays like Sleep No More or Yvonne Meier's The Shining!

photo via psfk.com

However, with all this technology, added interactive components and plentitude of nonstop noise, there is a greater need for us to learn to balance it all. Therefore, some retailers are taking more of a silent approach. Selfridges who will be open "No Noise" areas where shoppers will leave shoes and phones at the door for a more calming experience. The space will be designed super minimal with meditation sessions and a collection of de-branded products from recognizable labels. More and more digital detox type parties, lounges and hangouts are beginning to emerge to encourage us to tune out constant distractions. This concept is a new trend sparked by our desire to be connected 24/7 and urges us to value our quiet time.

photo via NY Times

Not to mention, the widespread use of the internet does pose some concerns for retailers. Through social media, product review sites and even online stores actual sites, consumers can voice their opinion about any product imaginable. As consumers, we now have the ability to research, fact check and compare product specifications that much easier. For instance, the Kavanagh family started an online petition for PepsiCo to change one of the main ingredients used in their popular Gatorade drink after researching some of its harmful effects.

We’ve talked about the most exciting, up and coming things in the fashion industry, but how are we educating our future selves? Some schools are taking a technology fueled approach as iPads make way into the classroom and schools of the future like, Avenues: The World School, based in Chelsea spring up. With cutting edge technology like audio sensitive cameras and multimedia equipment to replace traditional textbooks (and eliminate heavy school bags), this school supplies iPads to all students nursery to 12th grade and in 5th grade students begin working with Macbook Airs as well. Not to mention, the school houses a 70,000 digital archive of books and magazines. The evolution of education provides students with new ways to experiment and expands the classroom walls beyond physicality to a global world of possibilities. As long as we learn to balance all this change, we can successfully move forward into a future of great potential.

photo via Business Insider

Finally, today we'd like to leave you with a sneak peek into what stores of the future may look like so click here to check it out!

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