Retail Focus Online
Volume 4 - 2014
Unlock the Latest Trends
The recent EuroShop event in Dusseldorf brought over 100,000 visitors to "The World's Leading Retail Trade Fair." The JGA Creative Team explored the show unveiling innovative trends and the latest industry developments from over 20,000 exhibitors. With the constant drum of "Internet and Ecommerce," Euroshop reinforced how the shift from bricks-and-mortar to online is actually not a threat, but rather a partnership for becoming consumer-centric. Unlocking the Best of EuroShop, we have compiled a recap of our favorite exhibits showcasing hundreds of photos, detailed by category. Read on to find your favorites, share this with your colleagues, and bank it for your next inspiration. To view the recap in its entirety, please click here.
Lighting Your World
Store lighting has always played an integral role in making products visible and appealing. Lighting impacts space from many perspectives; from the fixtures, display and design elements, to the experience with today's LED technology being dynamic, ever-changing and localized. Today, lighting is reinvented beyond anything that might be typically thought of in traditional brick-and-mortar architecture, not as an output of engineering, but as a foundation of placemaking. Lighting is integrated into bookshelves, fixtures, under, below; within fixturing with devices that are no thicker than a small wire deliver a punch that in the past would have been bulky, hot and distracting. If the show exhibits are any indication, the ceiling of the future will be the last and the least typical option for the placement of lighting, with illumination being seen as an integrated element in the design of furniture and fixtures. For more on Lighting, click here.
Fixtures as Designer Inspiration
Unlike past years where multiple examples of fixtures were showcased as available readymade lines, this EuroShop focused more on the capabilities, imagination, and unique combination of materials; some being high-tech, others being high-touch -- all designer inspirations. Bringing together old world design and craftsmanship, juxtaposed with high-tech, streamlined, engineered and contorted fixtures of glass and steel was a consistent theme. Using materials that were outcomes of technology -- fixtures were laser cut, formed, cast, contorted, and organic. Particularly interesting were the fixtures in the food areas, which set their eyes on next millennium ahead; curvilinear, swooping, and dramatic, but as often, blended with the found and the reclaimed. The integration of technology in fixtures allows a new array of devices to be seamlessly integrated, providing even fewer limits and more possibilities for the creative designer. Click here for more.
Technology's Impactful Influence
Not surprising, technology influenced the aesthetics of EuroShop and its futuristic sensibility from mannequins who have the ability to be "refaced" through the use of state-of-the-art robotics to other displays that would be at home in the 22nd Century with their aerodynamic, space-aged design. Utilizing materials such as stainless steel, custom curved and configured glass, and integrated LED lighting, often-changing and mood-appropriate was also highly evident. Fixtures often drew their inspiration from the high-tech world of automotive in the most sophisticated pieces of entertainment technology. Mixing high-touch and high-tech, EuroShop became a combination of rustic and futuristic; with the integration of state-of-the-art LED lighting for interactive shelf-edge signing, and self-and-assisted checkout technologies. For more on the latest use of technology in-store, click here.
Visual Merchandising Goes High-Touch
Consider Visual Merchandising as high-touch; essentially the opposite of the high-tech store elements. The EuroShop visual displays remind us that merchandising is something that is not just something to be seen, but it involves all the senses. Visual merchandising establishes the art of storytelling, of engagement, and interactivity in ways beyond those who source and manufacture, or even operate view product outside of being SKUs and gross margin. Through proper visual merchandising, the customer becomes engaged and sees the emotional aspects beyond its pure price and value. The Visual Merchandising presentations at EuroShop extended a nod to the brand and the product in a way that recognized the importance of integrating of all these elements: Product, environment, visual, the brand, and the consumer. For more on Visual Merchandising at EuroShop, click here.
Materials and Finishes Create Texture
Much of EuroShop 2014 was about visual texture, and nothing gives the environment texture like its Materials and Finishes. Breathing new life into store environments, one of the biggest trends in this category relates to stretch fabrics, and how they can change the look and feel of the space in a snap. Technological advances have created the opportunity for manufacturers to reproduce the look of a luxury finish at a fraction of the cost. Faux materials are being created so rapidly that designers can choose from a vast medley of fresh looks; doing so in a faux-to-real sensibility. The marriage of Technology and Materials and Finishes provides more organic shapes as well. Today Materials flex to fit unique spaces and floor plans. And as for Finishes, "Chalk is the new black," delivering a plethora of artistic ways to reinvent fixtures to delight and surprise consumers every time they enter your door. Click here for more.

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Half Full, Half Empty By Marcos GouvĂȘa de Souza
This article is an excerpt from Chain Store Age Magazine's: "Next Is Now: Five Hot Trends from EuroShop 2014."

JGA's Creative Team explored EuroShop for the latest creative trends and compiled these five topics as those most influential, already impacting the store experience today with the potential to revolutionize how business will be conducted tomorrow and beyond.

1. Technology
The use of interactive screens for in-store ordering, customization, and to facilitate the brick-and-mortar space as a destination, becomes an environment that is not only about logistics supply, but as well, a portal to expanded offerings and personalized goods. Clear LCD screens that create a series of layers similar to what one would see within the scenes at the opera provide a 3-D effect. And elements such as 3-D projections, the use of avatars, and various projection devices are all examples of technology at the forefront.

2. Faux-to-Real
Because of the enhancement of photographic technology, 3-D printing and manufacturing techniques, everyday pragmatic materials such as glass, porcelain, tile, concrete and acrylics now take on a lifelike sensibility, but with operationally-friendly results. One of the best examples is the explosion of porcelain surfacing materials that appear to have realistic features wood, stone, and even precious materials such as lapis or onyx. Combining nature and science brings the opposite, but similar marriage between technology and nature.

3. Getting Social
Retail environments can take a cue from the exhibits, where the inclusion of social spaces throughout the show within booths and displays was new to the 2014 Expo. These spaces were often created through a series of ceiling drop elements, i.e. large floating fabric and/or lattice drums or squares, and where the creation of stair-step-stages became gathering points or places where informal shows and presentations were held. And through the definition of either elevation or form, these spots became "spaces within spaces." Also worthy of consideration is how this digital world can create a "third place" to serve as a key marketing tool, not just as an amenity or a complement to a retail space.
4. Contrasting High-Tech and High-Touch
Given the role that technology and lighting plays within today's store environment, the customer still yearns for warmth, a welcoming environment and the human factor. The integration and seamless integration of these two factors was highlighted at the show.

A sense of being in a "rustic Italian market in Tuscany, but with color corrected, state-of-the-art lighting integrated into the found antique furniture" was a theme that was visible time and again. Bringing in nature with green walls, the use of technology in translating and layering evocative human; natural and spiritual images was a common theme.

5. Power Lighting
Atmosphere allows lighting to be evocative -- mimicking a sunrise and a sunset, a starry night, a thunderstorm, being placed under the ocean or in the clouds -- while doing this all through the nuance, without literally capturing the image of any of these experiences, was something that had the ability to turn the sensibility of atmosphere in a moment.

The positioning of lighting made news, not as a mindless, ambient "spill of lumens," but rather as a strategically focused and placed producer of highlight and focus.

Lighting's role to be empathetic and intuitive was exhibited throughout the Expo. Lighting features that responded to the movement of passersby, the sound in the space, and whether the customer was interested in being viewed in a daylight environment, evening light, candle light; something that could be driven off of things such as NFC (Near Field Communication). This allows the garment to communicate with the lighting as to what would be the best illumination for the customer to view the garment (or eat the meal, or look at the product being displaced), without the store personnel actually being responsible for resetting this light effect, be it in terms of lumens, intensity or focus.

Just imagine the advances that will take place in the coming three years before EuroShop 2017.

Stay tuned!

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