In 2013, retail store and products popped up in the most surprising of places, utilizing true creativity turn customers’ heads. Check out the stories that were enough to turn readers’ heads as well, and see how they fit into larger trends in our Future of Retail Report.
High-end retailer Harvey Nichols has launched a new gift collection that features low-cost products like a set of toothpicks, a packet of “authentic Lincolnshire gravel,” a wire sponge, and others — all presented nicely in minimal white and red packaging. The collection, called “Sorry I Spent It On Myself,” plays on the idea that people should spoil themselves and may not have enough money left for gifts for their friends or family.
The owner of Hammer & Nails, Michael Elliot, wants this place to become a man-cave where men can let loose and leave their problems at the door. Opening in LA next month, the salon is furnished with oversized leather sofas and personal TVs with headphones, complete with a selection of popular sports channels. Complimentary beverages will also be offered – Elliot is looking to offer free beer and scotch as soon as he obtains his liquor license.
Grocery stores inside subway stations are nothing new, but grocery stores inside the same train you happen to be traveling on are something else altogether. An anonymous tourist visiting the capital city of South Korea stumbled across a subway carriage that had been fully converted into a mobile grocery store.
Designed by sustainable solutions company MINIWIZ Sustainable Development Ltd, the new Nike Store in Shanghai is made entirely of recycled materials. Located on Xinle Road, not far from Nike China’s headquarters, Nike X158 is the sports brand’s latest concept store in the city. The store boasts of having the lowest carbon footprint and is made out of water bottles, soda cans, and old CDs and DVDs. All the materials were assembled mechanically and without glue to make them 100% reusable.
Street artist Plastic Jesus recently placed plain black boxes on the shelves in five Los Angeles Best Buy stores. Labelled as a ‘Useless Plastic Box 1.2′, they featured realistic-looking information tags and were priced at $99.99. By covertly placing the fake products amongst tablets and GPS units, he hoped to inspire people to think about the rationality of their obsession with high-tech gadgets. The faux devices were described as another gadget you don’t really need.
IKEA‘s 2014 catalog and accompanying app for iOS and Android enables customers to place virtual furniture in their own home. This feature is unlocked by scanning selected pages in the printed catalog with the app or browsing the pages in the digital catalog on a smartphone or tablet.
The density of pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks of New York City make it an optimal place to grab attention with an eye catching or innovative store window display. For the NYC debut of their casual clothing and accessories line Kate Spade Saturday, the brand created four walk up shoppable interactive windows in formerly vacant retail stores.
Similar to an idea in Singapore that lets travellers buy products off the wall, the consumer goods giant will be launching 50 mobile stores in bus shelters around Toronto, Canada. Bus riders can scan QR-codes from their mobile devices at the shelters to buy items including Pampers diapers, Tide detergent and Crest toothpaste and have it delivered to their homes for free.
The service for American Express card holders allows participants to sync their Amex card to Twitter, allowing them tweet specific product hashtags to purchase merchandise. Once participants tweet a product hashtag, @AmexSync will send them a reply, which includes a confirmation code users have 15 minutes to tweet. If the user does so, Amex then processes the order and sends the product via free two-day shipping.
Schemata Architects created a pop-up store for World Basics in Paris, transforming recyclable materials such as shipping crates and protective packaging into display units for merchandise – and a changing room. This cocoon-like fitting room gives customers a comfortable amount of space to try on clothes, as well as a greater sense of privacy. When zipped-up, the fitting room encapsulates you in a spongey material that is translucent enough to let in the perfect amount of natural light.