Here at Valley we’ve been thinking about how retailers can bring people together. We’re asking the question; could retail be the new cultural activity hub? During 2020, the Coronavirus pandemic reminded all of us of the importance of human connection and how crucial outdoor ‘out of the home’ experiences are for personal wellbeing. What we’re seeing is the evolution of the retail space and the re-purposing of the retail experience. After all, some retailers are finding themselves with excess space and want to find ways to put this to good use – to drive alternative revenue streams and to find ways to play an active role in our communities, aside from selling their wares.
We love Uniqlo’s flagship megastore that opened in Yokohama in Spring 2020. The complex, called UNIQLO PARK consists of retail stores, amusement facilities, green space and a spacious rooftop. The 3-story building offers extensive space for shopping with UNIQLO. On the rooftop, visitors can gaze at the panoramic view of Tokyo Bay and enjoy the interactive playground space.
The group’s executive Vice President and creative director Takahiro Kinoshita believes that it’s stores need to be more than just for shopping.
“We want our clothes to be suitable and affordable for everyone. In that sense, online shopping is most efficient for both us and our customers. But not everyone knows Uniqlo, and those who don’t are unlikely to go directly to our website to shop. Their first point of contact will be the physical store, which is why we take store design seriously.”
Uniqlo’s play and experienced centred strategy shows they understand that their physical stores need to be a destination, to deliver value beyond that can be experienced on their e-commerce store.
Whereas most of Uniqlo’s stores are based in the city centre, their Yokohama bayside store functions as a park, providing a place for families to have a whole day out. They can play, relax, dine, have a picnic and do some shopping in store.
Have you come across something similar on your global travels or during your research? Let us know.