Top-tier shopping centres of the future must offer more than diamonds and designer fashions to attract the region’s sophisticated demographic of luxury shoppers; they need to wow their target market with futuristic technology and bespoke experiences. Adam Cook, who leads Retail Project and Development Services for real estate firm JLL, shares more.
Shopping centre development in Asia continues to outpace the rest of the world. As more malls are built and consumers mature in their preferences, developers are pulling out all the stops to differentiate their luxury properties.
While the majority of new shopping centres target the growing middle class with accessible fast-fashion brands, there are some exciting new projects that are designed to appeal to high net worth customers.
Although recent data shows that many luxury shoppers are trading down for more accessible brands – 37% of Chinese consumers plan to reduce spending on luxury goods, according to a 2013 study – some of retail’s most innovative visionaries are contemplating the future of the luxury shopping sector. Brands and malls must offer exclusive amenities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Some of these new ideas may come to market as early as 2015 and promise to reshape the shopping experience of the uber-wealthy.
Cooking with the stars
Michelin Star-rated restaurants are a sure-fire way to increase footfall in new shopping centres. Multiple experience-based fine dining concepts are in the works in malls across Asia.
Exclusive restaurants in new luxury malls may design once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for wealthy customers to host cook-a-long dinner parties with their favourite celebrity chef in state of the art kitchens, with exclusive private dining rooms set on the rooftop of luxury shopping centres.
Shopping centres are taking the concept of customised luxury beyond monogrammed leather goods in order to meet the requirements of the most detail-oriented shoppers. New services are beginning to surface, including the on-site stylist concierge, who has access to multiple brands. Shoppers can relax with a drink in a private salon while racks of designer clothing and accessories are presented to them.
The trend is further explored through pop-up shops, with emerging fashion labels offering bespoke designs and fittings for new high-wealth brand enthusiasts by the designers themselves.
VIP airplane parking
There is no better way to carry your new purchases home than by private jet. The top tier new retail centres are exploring private airstrips complete with immigration and customs desks to accommodate jet-setting international consumers. Additionally, if you are looking to avoid rush hour traffic you can always take a helicopter across town to one of the helipads for rooftop access to your favourite luxury retailer.
The virtual valet
Imagine Apple’s Siri but in a shopping centre? One prominent global developer is exploring this technology. Top shoppers will receive a platinum coated key fob that is immediately recognised upon entering the shopping centre. These customers will be greeted by a digital valet and treated to user-selected perks such as customised music, signature scents and mood-adjusted lighting. The service will also notify the customer’s favourite brands as they approach the storefront so that personal shoppers can prepare fitting rooms and pour the champagne.
The virtual valet will also have a mobile phone application that integrates additional benefits such as hands-free lift operation, gift services and restaurant reservation. If you forget to visit one of your favourite brands, your virtual valet will be sure to remind you.
Social media movie theatre
In an effort to connect fashionistas with their online entourage, brands are introducing new social media services. From private fitting rooms to public runway events, retailers are integrating technologies that allow you to broadcast your latest fashion find across social media through smart glass in the fitting room mirror or via in-store live streaming. Finally the fashion-forward and media-minded can find solace knowing that online friends ‘like’ the new outfit before it even rings through the register.
A workout for more than your wallet
Specially designed retail spaces are offering children and adults alike the opportunity to “go a round” with professional athletes. Part shopping mall, part sports-themed entertainment destination, these new malls accommodate the athletic ambitions of the upwardly mobile with full-scale athletic facilities.
Some of these venues feature a mix of live sporting events with space for 10,000 plus spectators, activity stations for youth sport clinics and special training events featuring professional athletes. For shoppers that prefer to burn calories the old-fashioned way there is also a carefully curated mix of athletic and luxury retailers.