Today only: what retail can learn from hospitality

AMSTERDAM – This afternoon at 14:40, five industry leaders and stakeholders will share their thoughts on the shifting retail landscape and how physical stores can survive the digital era. Alon Baranowitz, founder of Baranowitz + Kronenberg; Liran Wizman, chairman and founder of Europe Hotels Private Collection; Matteo Bressanin, global retail channel manager at Nespresso; Tobias Koch, associate at Concrete Amsterdam; and Vlastimil Spelda, ideation and strategy director at Pernod Ricard, will engage in a panel discussion on What Retail Can Learn From Hospitality as part of the exciting two-day programme of talks, exhibitions and workshops at Frame Lab.

One of the latest business strategies in retail is a shift away from prioritizing product sales towards providing services that create a need or desire for the product in the customer. One example that comes to mind is the multi-level, multi-service Shiseido Ginza Store. Designed by Nendo’s head of design Oki Sato in collaboration with Keita Aono, the Shiseido store throws out the repetitive rows of product shelves to make space for customers to indulge in a little pampering. The store offers private beauty treatments, hair and makeup consultations, personal beauty makeovers and a café, all integrated into the brand space – adding more than a touch of hospitality to the retail aspect.

The Shiseido Ginza Store makes space for customers to indulge in a little pampering, expanding the brand experience beyond its products.

Another trend – or shall we say development – that the industry is picking up from the hospitality sector is the importance of being local. From products to service to interior design, retail brands are marketing themselves as just as much a location-specific attraction as the hip city café on the corner or the local favourite farm-to-table restaurant. Embracing the culture, heritage and vibe of the surrounding neighbourhood and city, stores can become destinations that are relevant and meaningful to their context, tapping into local communities to connect with their customers.

Designed by Tacklebox, Aesop Georgetown takes Washington, D.C.’s historical tobbaco trade as inspiration for the dynamic rippled wall surface facing the store fronts. 30,000 sticks of 100-year-old reclaimed Southern Pine – traditionally used to hang and cure tobacco leaves – are cut and stacked against the eastern side of the 80-sq-m space.

For Dutch eyewear retailer Ace & Tate, individuality is key – for its customers and for its stores. Drawing on the surrounding architecture, art by local artists, or character quirks of the locals – in stores from Copenhagen to Munich – ensures that no space is ever the same.

No longer bound to traditional purchasing transactions or processes, savvy retailers are radically rethinking the role of the physical store in its entirety. The cashless concept is rapidly gaining ground amongst service providers, retailers and restaurants alike. Convenience and improved security aside, businesses are transforming their physical spaces into touchpoints for converging aspects of culture, education, wellness and more. ‘The physical store is the place where a brand can connect best with its customers, where it can communicate and interact directly with them on a personal level,’ says Christoph Vogl of Cheungvogl Architects. The Hong Kong-based practice recently reimagined the retail establishment Au Pont Rouge in Saint Petersburg, Russia – which has now been nominated as Multi-brand Store of the Year and for the Innovation Award in the 2018 Frame Awards.

In Au Pont Rouge Saint Petersburg, robotic service streamlines the shopping process but also introduces a sense of drama to the retail experience.

To not only survive, but thrive in the digital era, technology must be used as a tool of engagement that adds real value to the retail space. If the industry can learn from the hospitality sector – which has always prioritized meaningful spaces and experiences – it will not fail to adapt to the new era of online-first retail.

Location Gashouder, Westergasfabriek, Klönneplein 1, 1014DD Amsterdam, Netherlands

For more insights and inspiration on the future of the industry, get your tickets to Frame Lab on 21 and 22 February.

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