OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — A panel of retail space experts gathered on stage at VOICES in December to share their predictions on what stores of the future might look like.
Sandrine Deveaux, managing director, Store of the Future and VP of consumer products at Farfetch, architect Richard Found and Stuart Miller, director of investment management at QIC Global Real Estate, discussed the use of technology and the appeal of brick-and-mortar in an age of e-commerce on a panel moderated by BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed.
"I think it's going to be a three-year store," said Found, whose namesake firm was behind the new Saks store at Brookfield Place in downtown Manhattan. "It's going to feel like a pop-up, but with integrity."
Technology, too, was a key topic. Found described how he has seen some stores using technology for technology's sake. Deveaux echoed this, speaking of "thought about the customer journey. What is the problem you are trying to solve [with technology]? ... It's so easy to get the whole experience wrong, even if you have the best tech in your store."
Mobile, however, is an opportunity just waiting to be tapped, said Devaux. "The luxury customer interacts all the time on their mobile device," she said. "[We need to look at] how stores can really leverage mobile, so the consumer is in control of their shopping experience through their mobile."
As for the mall, a pillar of brick-and-mortar retail, Miller believes the format will continue to have relevance in the future. "I'm a firm believer that the mall isn't dead, because we want to come together and congregate," he said.