retail Archives - Whitespace | Brand Driven Design

Survival Tactics for Department Stores: Nordstrom Experiments with ‘Click & Collect’ 

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In this digital era, it’s getting harder and harder for retail stores to compete and stay afloat. More people are turning to online shopping as they strive for convenience & hassle-free solutions. This means that department stores will need to seriously innovate if they’re going to keep up! So, what can they do? Well, Nordstrom has an idea that they’re experimenting with and Walmart is following suit, this is what they’ve been up to:

Building physical stores that don’t sell anything

Yep, you read that right! Nordstrom and Walmart are both building physical stores that don’t actually sell anything. But why? Well, it’s all down to the new ‘Click & Collect’ movement.

Click & Collect 

Click & collect is exactly what it sounds like. Customers place their orders online, and then collect their goods & groceries at designated pick up points. Now, it might sound like a bit of a ball-ache when you can simply order your bits online and have them delivered to your door, however this method is indeed, more convenient, and it’s all about timing. 

When you have your goods delivered to your home, you have to wait around and be present for the order to arrive. This isn’t always the most convenient way to do things, particularly when your order can arrive any time between A and B. Who has time to wait around? What if something comes up and you want to head out? This is why Click & collect is so attractive, because you can conveniently collect your grocers precisely when you mean to, without having to bumble around the busy department store. 

You won’t have to leave the comfort of your car

You place your order and then you’re given a designated parking space to collect from. Following that, you park up and your dedicated assistant will load the trunk of your car up with your order. Then, you simply drive home and voila, you’re all sorted with your weekly shop and you didn’t even have to leave the comfort of your car, nor did you have to walk around a department store in rush hour, and waste your time queuing up at the cash register. 

“Nordstrom offers pickup at all its more than 100 full-priced locations around the United States, while Walmart is on track to offer pickup at more than 3,000 of its stores by the end of 2019.” 

It’s growing fast 

The new Click & collect revolution is growing rapidly. In fact, more than 15% of US shoppers are now embracing the innovation, and sales are estimated to hit an annual number of $35 billion by next year. This is a huge movement that is almost certainly going to throw a spanner in the works for digital retailers. 

Conclusion 

Online retailers that offer home delivery are going to struggle to compete with this new rise in convenient click & collect services. Unless they can offer accurate ETA’s on their home deliveries, as opposed to “anytime between A and B”, they’re going to seriously struggle. The ease of simply placing your order and having your car loaded up with everything you need is much more attractive. As such, you can expect to see physical retail stores competing with online retailers in a big way! Only time will tell. 

Whitespace creates first Thailand store for Danish fashion giant, BESTSELLER

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Bangkok is renowned for being home to many luxurious shopping malls that boast a variety of top-end fashion brands, among other prestige names—and that list has just got a little bit bigger. Whitespace is proud to announce the recent opening of the very first Bangkok store for Danish Fashion Giant ‘BESTSELLER’.

BESTSELLER is one of the largest fashion brands in Europe, as well as being incredibly popular in China. This recent move into the South-East Asian market is part of a new strive towards accommodating a growing tourist market. As we all know, Thailand has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. However, it has since become increasingly popular among Chinese tourists, as well as people from neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore. 

Where is the store located?

BESTSELLER has opened its first S.E.A store in Central Village, which was Bangkok’s very first luxury outlet. Central Village is located at Bang Na Trat – Suvarnabumi Frontage Rd., Samut Prakan, Thailand. 

This glorious luxury outlet is home to many big brands, with four more fashion outlets to add to it’s already thriving community. Bestseller main store is divided into 4 brands: Jack & Jones, Selected, Vero Moda, and Only. Also a stand-alone shop called J.LINDEBERG is located in a nearby zone in the complex.

Our approach was for each outlet to effortlessly emanate the individual brand in-store. So, Jack & Jones has favoured a more rustic, ‘urban’ approach, that will resonate well with young men; whereas ONLY—which is a brand targeting young women—has a much sleeker and more sumptuous feel to it.  

Clever lighting and optimal spacing allows for shoppers to browse at their leisure, being taken from one section of the store to the other, without anything being too ‘in their face’. In addition to that, the fitting rooms are spacious and luxurious, with a comfortable seating area for those waiting. We believe that BESTSELLER will be an excellent addition to the Central Village fashion family, and are thoroughly looking forward to watching them expand across Thailand in the future.

About Bestseller

Copyright BESTSELLER

Bestseller is a family-owned fashion company that was established back in 1975. During that time, they have expanded across Europe, The Middle East, North America, Latin America, Australia and India. With 2,700 branded stores, and 15,000 multi-brand stores, it’s fair to say that Bestseller are an incredibly well-established fashion business—which is big news for Bangkok!
In addition to all of that, in China alone, Bestseller Fashion Group has an independent company that designs it own collections for over 7,000 stores!

About the fashion brands available in BESTSELLER, Bangkok


Photo credit by BESTSELLER

MAIN STORE WITH 4 BRANDS

Jack & Jones
Jack & Jones is a quality fashion brand designed for young men. This quality brand was born from a love of denim and was established in 1990. Jeans are to this day, still the core of the business, though they have a wealth of other dapper products as well!

SELECTED
SELECTED is a unisex brand that is very much Nordic at heart, highlighting the premium taste that is rooted in Scandinavian aesthetics. The brand is split into two parts: HOMME & FEMME. FEMME focuses on the more elegant fashion for women, while HOMME epitomises every shape and form within modern menswear.

VERO MODA
VERO MODA was established in 1987, to accommodate young women who are looking for premium, on-trend clothing at realistic prices. This well-established brand was one of the first to join the BESTSELLER family.

ONLY
ONLY, is another premium fashion brand that targets young women, and are one of the largest, leading denim brands in Europe. The ONLY brand was built on the idea that women should be able to look and feel amazing in an effortless way, whilst staying true to an undeniably elegant charm.

STANDALONE STORE

J.LINDEBERG
J.LINDEBERG is a global lifestyle brand with the goal to become the most successful sport-fashion brand for an active lifestyle person. The colour of a big yellow wall and wooden cabinets make this shop looks more attractive also when you look closely you will see details of honeycomb around the wall.

Bankruptcy Stores Provide Insight for Surviving in An Omni-Channel World?

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Bankruptcy is a dirty word to most people. It signifies failure and total loss, or rock bottom, as it were. But is it the end of the line? Does losing everything really mean that all is lost? Or is there a way back? Well, we already know that there are many people who have bounced back after going bankrupt, so surely it can work for retail giants? Perhaps with the right strategies, it is possible for post-bankruptcy stores to survive in a highly competitive, omni-channel world!

In this article, we’re going to look at the methods that Toys R Us (or Tru Kids) and Sears have been adopting, in order to re-establish themselves. Clearly, whatever they were doing in the past wasn’t working for them. Which is why they are now embracing the modern market and introducing new and innovative ways of delivering a retail experience to their audience.

Toys Were Us

Let’s start with Toys R Us, as you all know went into liquidation last year (2018). Their biggest failure was neglecting to embrace the online market quite as much as they should have. Yes, it is incredibly difficult to contend with the likes of Amazon, who are absolutely dominating the market. However, they could have been looking at other avenues of survival. Unfortunately, it took bankruptcy to prompt executives to start implementing genuine change. That said, there’s no good crying over spilled milk; all one can do is clean it up and pour another glass.

But hey! Everybody loves a good comeback story, and by the looks of it, Toys R Us could be bringing us exactly that. They’re re-inventing their brand as we know it, and the way that their stores function. Rather than the drab warehouses that they devolved into; Toys R Us stores will now be much more customer-centric with an emphasis on fun! Instead there will be open play areas where children and parents can interact and test new products; there will be designated spaces for various special events, including birthday parties. Their full business model hasn’t been mapped out just yet, but executives have let on that there will be some big changes, investing much more in their stores and local communities.

Sears Later

 

And then we have Sears Holdings, who also filed for bankruptcy in 2018. A difficult year for retail it seems, as the e-Commerce market continues to thrive exponentially. That said, these drastic measures that Toys R Us and Sears Holdings have been faced with, have inspired a new way of retailing! It has forced them to reinvent their approach, and to create an immersive experience that e-Commerce stores would never be able to achieve.

Similarly, to Toys R Us, Sears are now heavily focusing on in-store experiences. They’re building on intellectual property (brand name, house brands etc), and their strongest product categories, especially products that require hands on demonstrations (e.g., mattresses, TV’s, kitchen appliances).

Each store will include a “welcome” service desk, where customers can meet with Sears Home & Life experts to explore how new appliances would look in a full-scale kitchen, among other things. This is in an attempt to demonstrate that whilst shopping online certainly has its perks, there’s something irrefutably attractive about being able to hold a product in your hands before parting with your money. In addition to that, receiving face-to-face, expert advice from people who understand the products, offers far more insight than an FAQ ever could.

Conclusion

So, what does the next six to twelve months have in store for Toys R Us and Sears Holdings? Are we going to see a strong comeback for them both? Is this new, customer / store-centric approach the key to competing with e-Commerce giants such as Amazon? Only time will tell!

Rising affluence in China fueling Innovative Fitness industry 

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The health & fitness industry has taken the world by storm in recent years, as more and more people are becoming conscious of how they look, and how fit they are. It’s a combination of vanity, fused with the desire to live a long, comfortable and healthy life. As such, gyms have been popping up around the globe, offering a wide variety of exciting classes for people to indulge in. This coupled with various mobile apps that offer diet plans, workouts, and pedometers (to mention a few), is really starting to (quite literally) shape the new generation. 

The transformation is noticeably kicking off in China at the moment. Whilst the global growth has been rising steadily for many years, the health & fitness industry in China has boomed exponentially. There are a number of influencing factors, however, it is the rise in Instagram and the social desire to “look good” for your online profile that is without question, the driving force behind the change. Health & fitness lovers are seeking experience. They’re looking to be a part of the next big thing, and it is this which has fueled the rapid growth of fitness centers, clothing brands, and personal trainers throughout China. 

It’s all going on! 

The wonderful thing is that more and more people in China are making time for themselves. They’re being supported by a broad network of health & fitness facilities that are popping up all over the country. One brand in particular “LeFit”, has a handy app which allows members to figure out a plan whilst they’re on the go. So, they can look at various classes that are going on in any one of their facilities, and they can plan their day around it. This means that if you’re on the other side of the city in a business meeting, rather than go to your usual workout spot, you’ll have instant access to a nearby facility without disrupting your day too much. This new and innovative way of operating is offering health & fitness freaks the opportunity to stay fit and healthy, without compromising their already, incredibly busy schedules. 

Other companies are opting for “staffless fitness pods” where members can sign in digitally and access fitness centers on the go with a simple click of a button. These innovations are making health & fitness significantly more accessible to the affluent members of society who are always in a hurry. 

The rapidly expanding sportswear market – a truly positive shift, or mass-consumerism dressed as social necessity? 

OK, so that’s a bit of a mouthful. The question that we’re asking is: is trading in designer handbags for what could arguably be over-priced running shoes a truly positive change? Or is it simply mass consumerism with a new, healthier looking face? 

At the end of the day, there is a good argument for both sides. The real question is however: does it really matter? Certainly, there are many companies who are going to profit immensely from the industries rise in popularity (as we’ll get to in a moment) but, if it means inspiring future generations to favour a truly positive and healthy lifestyle, then it is something that we should embrace regardless. 

To give you an idea of what we’re looking at: the sportwear market is set to be $43.10 billion by 2020 in China alone. Those figures are staggering, as that doesn’t include the current $6 billion gym & fitness industry as it stands (which is expected to grow rapidly as well). 

Now, whilst the luxury goods industry in China is still huge, it has slowed down in recent years as a result of the health & fitness industry. Yes, there is still a great deal of vanity involved in the change in direction, to more sports & fitness related attire. However, when coupled with the fact that more and more people are taking an active interest in their physical health, you can put the vanity factor down as a positive catalyst for healthy social change.  

You see, there are some who would contend that the desire to “look great” on social media and go to great lengths to adhere to a certain lifestyle is a negative thing. Yes, there are negative connotations involved, especially if you look at the mental health effects of social media in young women. However, when you consider the fact that this change is leading away from the seemingly unattainable life of immeasurable wealth & glamour and steering towards an increasingly accessible lifestyle of self-betterment, mindfulness and physical actualization; then there really is no contest. 

The natural choice 

Going back to the rise in mental health issues in relation to social media, and the immense pressure that is put on youngsters to “fit in” and “keep up with the Kardashian’s” as it were, it’s important to recognize a positive shift when it’s happening. 

Not only is social media largely responsible for the health & fitness craze, but it is also combating some of the mental health problems that it has helped to create in other areas. Today, there are more and more people talking about their mental health, and now they’re making changes to their lifestyle which is actively helping them to improve their state of mind. 

Simply put: embracing the health & fitness industry and pursuing a healthier, active lifestyle is “the natural choice,” and one that is invariably going to give way to a much healthier and happier society. All in all, it’s an exciting prospect and we’re interested to see what new tech & changes are introduced to the industry as it expands. Now, hit the floor and give me twenty! 

Showcase stores for Kickstarter products 

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There’s a new form of store on the Highstreet, but they’re not selling products, they’re selling start-ups’ exposure. You may or may not have heard of Kickstarter, but it’s a new platform which is dedicated to finding the latest and greatest products and putting them before the eyes of their potential audience. It’s about creating as much hype around the latest products, tech and gadgets, before they’re due to be released. 

In a recent announcement, Amazon has revealed that they will be teaming up with Kickstarter, in order to offer store space for these “pre-sale” start-ups, so that they can hit the ground running when it’s time to launch; to give them a “kickstart” of sorts. 

This means that the more successful start-ups that are featured in Kickstarter, whose products are most likely to take off, will be given store space and a “digital shopfront” where they can showcase their ideas to the world. This is a new and innovative way of driving & establishing sales before production has even began. This transcends the digital realm and is now taking on the form of physical showcase stores as well. 

What’s most interesting about this business model is that there is such a grand variety of different pre-products to learn about. They’re tucked away in various categories, such as “Always be Learning,” “Exquisite Objects,” “Inventing the Future,” and “Public Benefit,” to name a few. As such, you can expect to find only the most exciting and innovative items, so that you can be the first to get your hands on the next big thing! 

Are physical “showcase” stores the future of retail?  

Image by Amazon

Another interesting thing about this “Kickstarter” trend, is that there are now a number of physical stores opening across the globe that are specifically designed to showcase products, and nothing else. They’re not interested in selling products at all, but to sell “the idea” of a product, or the brand itself. Some great examples of this are We The People, in Singapore, and b8ta, in the US. They allow browsers to enter their store and to have a glimpse into the future! This is an interesting and irrefutably invaluable way of generating hype before a product is even released. 

When coupled with online shopping, could these physical showcase stores be the future of retail? Well, for certain industries there is a huge amount of potential. For example, we can see the tech industry benefiting greatly from adopting the physical “showcase” store format. But is it something that could really take off for clothing and attire for example? Perhaps its too early to know for sure. What thing is for certain: this is an exciting time for retail, given the lull that has happened in recent years due to the rise of e-Commerce business.

Conclusion 

Image by socialbarrel

It’s certainly interesting to see so much interest going into new innovations. This is making the global market more accessible to young innovators and inventors. It’s creating more confidence in those who have ideas that they wish to share but weren’t feeling quite confident enough in their ability to get things off the ground. With the likes of Amazon and Kickstarter offering custom product pages, a comprehensive marketing packages, and access to an established global fulfilment network; it’s safe to say that we’re going to see some incredible products in the near future. 

But of course, there are cons to everything. Is this level of pre-exposure, before products have even began sale, going to be a problem for other companies poaching ideas? If you are showcasing a new innovation in tech, long before you’re due to launch the product, it will give your competitors the opportunity to create something similar, with a twist. In any case, it seems to be working wonders in terms of getting new companies off the ground and putting these awesome products in front of the customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Nike by Melrose is a laboratory blurring the boundary between online and offline retail

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For many years’ experts have been swearing by the “fact” that retail is not long for this world, due to the ever-exponential rise in e-Commerce shopping. In this digital era more people are doing their shopping online and finding even less reason to venture to the “bricks & mortar” stores. With Nike by Melrose, that could be about to change rather dramatically.

What is Nike by Melrose?

It’s exactly what it sounds like; Nike by Melrose is a physical retail location that’s opening on July 12th at Melrose Avenue in West Los Angeles. But what is it that separates this new store from your average retail store? Why does this one location have the potential to shake up the world of online & offline retail? Let’s find out…

The store has been tailored specifically to the buying habits of local Nike customers

Since its inception in 1964, Nike has been setting trends and leading the way in the sporting attire industry. Today, that trend setting continues, taking the form of a new high-tech store. Using the analytical data from the online buying habits of their customers, Nike has designed a store which is specifically tailored to the customers living in Western Los Angeles. This means that the items that they have in stock will be significantly more likely to sell as it’s precisely what their customers will be looking for. (if blue is trending, then plenty of blue will be stocked) This evolution in offline retail will transform the overall experience making it even more attractive for Nike fans to buy offline by entering their store.

In addition to their stock being influenced by what is trending, and the current buying habits of their local customers; much of their stock will refresh every two weeks. So, 25% of its foot-ware will be changed out, bringing in new and popular items. Some of the items will be entirely unique to that specific store, giving customers all the more reason to come in and get their hands on a limited style.

In-store best sellers

Another exciting feature that the store will have to offer is a backlog of bestselling items in stock. So, rather than stocking seasonal items only, there will be 365 favourites in-store for Nike fans to choose from!

Unique, high-tech features

But it doesn’t stop there. In fact, there are many new and innovative features that make Nike by Melrose an attractive spot to offline consumers.

Reserve pick-up lockers

The store will feature high-tech lockers where Nike members can reserve new clothing and shoes to try on without any purchase having to be made. This gives customers a unique opportunity to come into the store and find precisely what they’re looking for without wasting any time.

Nike Expert sessions

The store will also feature a treadmill where Nike members can trial various sneakers and sports attire before making their purchase. They will be accompanied by a Nike Expert who will advise them on which items are best suited to their needs and desires. Combining excellent taste, unparalleled style, and an in-depth knowledge of Nike’s vast range of sporting equipment, members will be able to find the perfect get-up for them.

SwooshText delivery 

Another fantastic feature that Nike by Melrose is offering is the “drive-thru” pick-up experience using SwooshText. Simply put, Nike members can place their order using the Nike mobile app and pick-up their items immediately in the parking area behind the store. This is perfect for people in a hurry! So, if you’ve got a game of squash planned with a new client in the evening and you want to look your best then you can pick-up some new sports equipment immediately.

It’s an interesting test which is worth following

Nike have referred to their new Melrose store as being a “laboratory” of sorts. It’s a test shop which is subject to change over the coming months. As it stands the store will be 50-50 with male and female attire. That said, depending on the analytical data that they gather, it could well go either way. It’s all about reacting to what the local customer wants and then delivering exactly that.

It’s an interesting test and one which is entirely worth following. It will be great to see how this shapes offline retail and whether or not a new wave of high-tech stores can breath a new lease of life into what is thought to be a dying industry.

 

Image by https://news.nike.com/news/nike-by-melrose-store-los-angeleswww.facebook.com/CentralPhuketFanpage/photos/a.448977178629707/853513224842765/?type=3&theater

Asia Pacific Property Awards recognizes Whitespace Central Phuket Floresta Food Hall Design 

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When one thinks about Thailand, there are several things that spring to mind: a colourful nightlife, the incredible food, and miles of white sand beaches, to name a few. But the most prominent image of all is the rich and authentic cultural tapestry for which the Kingdom of Thailand has been built upon. You envisage the grand, golden statues and the charming floating markets, illuminated by a thousand hanging lanterns…Beautiful. 

So, when the team at Whitespace were tasked with designing the Central Phuket Floresta Food Hall, we knew that we had our work cut out for us! How do we create a space that functions as a luxurious food hall, appeals to an international audience, and honours the authenticity of Thailand’s marvelous culture? These are just a few of the questions that we had to both ask and find answers for. Fortunately, through our customer-centric creative process we were able to navigate our way towards an award-winning design! 

The Asia Pacific Property Awards has recognized Whitespace for what we have achieved, which as only further added to the immense satisfaction that we have gained from taking part in such a prestigious project. 

A little bit about Phuket 

Image by https://sites.google.com/site/phukutthailand/home/attractions

 

Phuket is a large province in the Southern region of Thailand, featuring the large island of Phuket (Thailand’s largest in fact). It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world at the moment, and with good reason. It lies off the West Coast of Thailand, resting in the Andaman ocean. There you can find some of the most spectacular beaches in Thailand, with golden-white sands that softly enshroud your feet in warmth, and crystal turquoise waters that maintain the perfect temperature all year-round. In addition to that, visitors find themselves in awe of the mountains that cover the island in plush blanket of emerald green. 

Phuket is fairly close to the province of Krabi, which is a central hub for tourists exploring the Southern Islands. Additionally, it has its own airport, making it easily accessible to anyone travelling through who’d like to experience one of the finest destinations in South-East Asia. 

The Island of Phuket features a number of luxurious amenities, including a wealth of premium shopping malls. This is why we decided to give the Central Phuket Floresta Food Hall more of a contemporary spin on their culture; to embrace the modernization of “Western”, air-conditioned shopping malls, whilst fusing it with the glorious and colourful intricacies of traditional Thai design.  

The idea was that you can travel to any major city in the world if you want to experience a luxurious shopping mall. Today, they’re ten a penny. That is what inspired us to give Central Phuket Floresta its own authentic charm. 

Everything that you could possibly want, all under one roof 

Image by www.facebook.com/CentralPhuketFanpage/photos/a.448977178629707/853513224842765/?type=3&theater

 

For expatriates living in Thailand, embracing the local cuisine is easy! Afterall, the food is world-renowned for being irrefutably delicious. That said, any Westerner who has lived in Thailand for a year or more will understand what its like to crave a bit of home. This is why large international food-halls are so important. 

In the Central Phuket Floresta food hall, you’ll be able to find everything that you could possible want, all under one roof. There are fresh bakeries, mouth-watering deli counters, vibrant vegetable stalls, and so much more. 

Simply put; as wonderful as it is to explore the authentic food-markets in Thailand, sometimes you need to indulge in Croissants, fresh cheese and a refreshing, air-conditioned space. Well, Floresta can provide you with all of that and more, whilst staying true to the vibrant cultural tapestry that international visitors have come to explore. 

  • The Dining Zone: World-class dishes expertly prepared by seasoned chefs. 
  • The Cheese Room: Boasting more than 300 different cheeses from all over the globe! 
  • The Fruit & Veg Zone: There you’ll find organic, locally farmed produce as well as various offerings from other countries. 
  • The Grocery Zone: With over 45,000 snacks from 15 different countries, you’ll be certain to find what you’re craving. 
  • The Bakery Zone: Fresh and delicious European-styled baked goods. 
  • The Meat Zone: Premium, mouth-watering meats from the finest sources. 
  • The Seafood Zone: Fresh, locally sourced seafood, expertly prepared for your convenience. 
  • The Drink Zone: Freshly squeezed smoothies and juices. Mmm! 
  • The Health & Beauty Zone: For all of your self-care and grooming requirements. 
  • The Take Home Zone: Succulent take-out food from 27 famous street outlets. 
  • The Thai Favourites: Of course, no food-hall would be complete without the finest selection of Thai favourites! 

 

Conclusion 

Of course, this is just a snapshot of the Central Phuket Floresta! We can only do it so much justice, as it really is something that you have to experience for yourself. Should you ever find yourself heading to the Southern provinces of Thailand, be sure to pay Phuket a visit! 

If you’d like to speak to us about a project that you have in mind, then please feel free to contact us today. We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting projects to sink our teeth into. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!