The internet has brought a new dimension into the fashion world, with the ease of purchase from the comfort of your own home. Shopping has never been easier! This has led to successful companies such as ASOS and BooHoo being exclusively online retailers.
This may have contributed to a fall in high street success however as a BBC article states:
‘The Local Data Company, which studied the top 500 British town centres, said 2,564 outlets closed in the first half of 2017, equivalent to 14 a day.
At the same time, there were 2,342 store openings, meaning that a net total of 222 High Street shops disappeared.
Charity shops, women’s clothes shops and shoe shops were worst hit, it said.’
Face to face shopping however doesn’t seem to be dead and ‘mega malls’ have not shown any signs of falling footfall. This may be due to larger shopping centres feeling more like an event or a special occasion when compared to regular high street shops.
Philip Lunn, co-founder of developer Lateral Property Group refers to Axiom (a huge shopping centre set to open in 2021) as a
“shopping resort”. “Customers want more,” he says. “They want leisure, they want ski slopes, they want experiences. They want a family day out where the kids are going to have fun. You’re not just dragging them around the shops.”
If a store is able to create an atmosphere, then shoppers might be more inclined to visit. Do Harrods, Selfridges, A&F and Hollister create a very theatrical experience in their stores and does this help attract shoppers?
Big shopping centres such as Westfield’s, are not suffering from footfall issues however, with over 70 million visitors coming to the shopping centres each year. With Westfield London set to launch a £600 million expansion in 2018, the shopping centre may be aiming to consolidate itself as a retail and entertainment destination which appeals to everyone.
Omar Aziz, Retail Operations Director at womenswear brand Quiz explains:
“Our products are designed to make women feel glamorous, so we want our store experience to reflect this by making our customers feel special, and to leave them with a lasting impression,”
These ‘mega malls’ feature more than fashion stores, dining and leisure events. They offer customer experiences which may not exist on the high street. So whether your brand exclusively sells online, has a store on the high street or is available in big shopping centres, customer experiences could well be a major factor.
To learn more about the fashion predictions from MILAN AND PARIS FASHION WEEK, or find out WHY AUDITS AND TESTING ARE SO IMPORTANT – not only for big retailers but also for the smaller independent fashion brands.