We thought we’d try and help our customers by compiling a mini-glossary of ‘retail terminology’ that’s supposedly key for 2017. Hopefully, this will let anyone planning new retail spaces in the future make the right choice, by understanding exactly what’s on offer.

Not to be confused with CLICKS-TO-BRICKS, this concept is simply the idea of combining you online and bricks and mortar stores. The goal being a seamless shopping experience on every channel.

Refers to the phenomenon of wholly ‘online’ retailers who then start opening bricks and mortar stores (not to be confused with BRICKS AND CLICKS). Many are simply traditional retail models (SimplyBe), but some use it to try new concepts and approaches (Made.com or Bonobos). Many experts point to this trends as confirming that retail stores are here to stay, despite the gloomy forecasts. Also referred to as VIRTUAL TO REALITY or OFF-LINE EXPERIENCE.

This is simply shorthand for stating that you have a ‘big idea’ behind the design for your store. The conceptual aspect is that usually the big idea in some way combines virtual and physical ideas to convey a message of some kind directly to your customers. That might be that you’re eco-friendly, outdoorsy, organic or whatever. This is done to reflect the customer’s lifestyles and become personal to them, like in ESPRIT California stores or North Face’s new concept stores. Though some concepts can be a little more left of field, like Story in New York. Story is a monthly magazine concept, so curated content is changed monthly.

More of a complete brand ethos. The idea is simple: challenge the accepted and shake things up. So, brands like UBER or Airbnb are disrupting the industries they’ve entered to offer customers a better experience than the traditional way of doing things. But isn’t limited to new brands, it’s simply about taking the lead and doing if different. And for many their retail spaces are just an extension of this, such as Virgin Holidays’ new interiors (link to our blog post on Virgin Holidays) and approach to selling holidays or right down to the rise of the pay as you feel cafes popping up across the country. Also referred to as CHALLENGER BRANDS.

This refers to shops where the interior blends with the ethos to create ‘experiences’. So stores like Anthropologie are designed to relax and engage customers. Slowing their pace and making them stop and look. The engagement can come from any aspect, in Anthropologies case there’s smells, tactile furnishings and products, and music. Although this can be taken even further, see RETAIL THEATRE.

Stores like Eataly are blurring the lines between restaurants and supermarkets. The idea stems from the rise in eating out and buying pre-prepared meals and combining the two. So, it’s not a traditional restaurant or supermarket, but an amalgam of the two. Still quite a new concept and how much of each is in the mix varies from one to the other, but that diversity is surely the point.

A particular strand of conceptual retail invented by CLICKS TO BRICKS retailer Bonobos. The idea itself isn’t hugely different to Made.com’s showrooming, just more personal. You simply make an appointment, attend, try on and order. Everything is then delivered to your door the following day.

Kind of the daddy of ‘new’ retail concepts. Since its inception in the 90’s the idea has grown massively. It’s also not as cute or little as the name suggests, with brands big and small using it regularly. Big brands use it to test concepts and products, create a buzz or even test locations. While smaller brands do the same, but also find it useful in helping them create more personal experiences (see EXPERIENTIAL). Also referred to as FLASH RETAILING.

Less a interior concept, more a buzzword/phrase for why concepts are on the rise. Based on reports suggesting that department stores are finished, after years of decline and some big name brands (especially in the US) disappearing. This phrase suggest that these new approaches to retail are in reaction to this. Although, it ignores the fact that many department stores are stronger than ever. With them either embracing these new approaches or leading them. So it might still be a little early to claim we’re in a ‘post’ department store era.

This is using technology, science and theatrics to create truly immersive retail spaces. The idea is that by entertaining or wowing customers you can make selling to them easier. Whether it’s virtual mirrors or Harrod’s use of space specific soundtracks (or sound branding as it’s called), retailers can truly capture imaginations and sales. Also referred to as STORE THEATRICS.

Either the saviour or annihilator of retail, depending on who you ask. So, you could say it has some distinct positives and negatives:

  • Positive: Made.com’s showrooming model. They’ve kept their business online, but opened spaces to let customers touch and feel the products if desired. But you still order online, even if you do it ‘in store’.
  • Negative: Many believe that customers have started using stores as a place to simply test and try on items. They then leave and order online from a more competitive retailer. As to how prominent this is, there’s no actual figures, so really it’s a bit of an unknown, and the reverse is also likely to be true (see WEBROOMING).

The reverse of SHOWROOMING. Where people do all their shopping online, but then attend physical stores to make the final purchases. As with SHOWROOMING actual figures for this don’t exist, but many regularly point to this being a threat to a growing e-Commerce market.

Obviously, there’s plenty more terms out there, but for us these are the key ones being used by retailers in the lead up to 2017.

Care of WSG