The Future of Retail

At Challenger Escapes we were sad to hear about the demise of the Arcadia Group and, rightly so, much of the coverage has focussed on their lack of move towards online sales.

But what of the model they chose to pursue? The vast majority of their stores are located on high streets and in shopping malls nationwide and it is clear that COVID took a big swipe at these centres and it’ll take a long time to recover.

But how to recover?

Interestingly enough Westfield has written a fantastic piece ‘How we shop in the next decade’ on the way in which they see their centres developing over the next 10 years. The report goes into great detail but we just wanted to draw on three key themes.

1) 2025 is the tipping point year when more than half of retail square meterage will be dedicated to experience rather than product. 

We love this idea! Shopping Centres should be places of excitement, giving the consumer an in-your-face live action-adventure, which can’t be replicated through a virtual portal.

2) Learn-as-you-shop; stores will increasingly help people to upskill, not just sell.

Shared user experiences with a retail theme will be a huge part of the next 10 years of retail, making shopping a destination and leisure event – rather than one which induces dread and stress will be critical in adding value to user experience.

This isn’t just the case for Shopping Malls alone, High Streets of the 21st Century can be pretty depressing places to be – they’re often not full, with betting shops on every corner and sometimes you even pay to park! We need local councils to engage on the front foot with this and Challenger Escapes will become much more active in the retail environment from 2021 and beyond. 

3) Almost a third of shoppers want to try gaming experiences like Escape Rooms

That’s right! Escape Rooms get their very own mention.

Traditional thinking would see Escape Rooms established by would-be-entrepreneurs on site but we think the real opportunity is with brand engagement. Telling the story of a brand to a captive audience in a 20-30 minute experience, coupled with the organic social reach is a great opportunity for companies to add value and showcase their commitment to the new form of shopping. 

And when they’re ready, we’re ready to work. 

Posted on December 4th 2020

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