We are all about keeping our ear to the ground, and in doing so we heard whispers that the store of the future will be coming in the shape of online retail giant Farfetch. It has been reported that the retail tech store will be located in Hackney, London. For those not familiar with Hackney, it is an area that has been up and coming for a while now. Located in east London, it is not too far from the city and is the lesser known cool cousin of Shoreditch.
Not taking away from Hackney’s raw edge, the interior of the store fuses the area’s rebel without a cause reputation with the look of the young bourgeoisie. A brick-walled basement housing rails of designer clobber, Farfetch hopes to extend their vision beyond online. Taking a gamble they hope that by investing in physical stores that their test run will push forward the “tech-powered retail experience” whilst also unveiling a new way for consumers to shop.
“The interior of the store fuses the area’s rebel without a cause reputation with the look of the young bourgeoisie.”
Walking the walking, after talking the talk is not easy, that is why we are excited about this latest venture from the e-commerce luxury brand. I personally have had my eye on them since they made a name for themselves through connecting high end and independent brands and boutiques with consumers. Show fearlessness towards innovation, it comes as no surprise that Farfetch has, according to analytics service Alexa, outperforming competitors like Yoox Net-a Porter and Neiman Marcus.
That is on of the many reasons why I take my hat off to Farfetch. They are making a bold move, considering the fact that their business has been reported as not yet profitable- they lost around $40 millions last year. Undeterred by these number, the forward thinking brand seems confident that their recent investment will grow their brand to be the leading name leading the digital revolution that is taking place.
Taking a closer look at the concept store, we are excited about the in-store technology includes fitting rooms equipped with photo booths. Described as “gimmicky stuff that’s more likely to drive short-term PR than actual sales” by BoF, I think that Farfetch’s ultimate goal is to introduce consumers to a new hybrid shopping experience, that brings online experience into the physical world.
“Farfetch’s ultimate goal is to introduce consumers to a new hybrid shopping experience, that brings online experience into the physical world.”
Hoping to enhance human interactions between their brand and boutique partners with potential customers, Farfetch is giving them free reign. They hope that by giving their partners freedom to choose the “components that make most sense for their businesses” that it would encourage their individual appeal.
With the core operating system developed by Farfetch, the next step for the company is to encourage innovation from third-parties. On this BoF reported that Farfetch has,
“developed a few key applications to demonstrate the power of the platform: a universal login that recognises a customer as she checks into the store; an RFID-enabled clothing rack that detects which products she is browsing and auto-populates her wishlist; a digital mirror that allows her to view her wishlist and summon items in different sizes and colours; a mobile payment experience similar to what exists in Apple Stores; and, of course, the underlying data layer that connects these services with each other and the Farfetch platform.”
Going forward, we think that Farfetch is exploring an area of retail tech that needs more attention. Brands need to evolve to the next step and start looking at how people are going to shop in the future. This is important if they hope to stay ahead of the game. According to Farfetch founder and CEO José Neves, although there has been growth of online shopping, over 90 percent of transactions still take place in brick-and-mortar stores and by 2025 he predicts that it will be around 80 percent, which is still eight out of 10 sales.
We’re in the business of revolutionising retail and being a positive force for the industry
Calling Farfetch’s latest project “augmented retail”, Neves revealed in an interview with BoF that their ‘store of the future’ is built on three principles. “The first is human touch” which he goes on to explain is basically about “empowering the staff in the shops to stop being inventory controllers and start being in-store influencers.” He continues, “The second principle is being modular. We absolutely do not believe there is one store of the future. There will be 1,000 stores of the future. So some components will be suitable for some brands and not for others.” Lastly he shares that the third principle is architecture. He explains, “We don’t want to come up with all the innovation ourselves. The idea is to create a “Store of the Future” platform and then invite start-ups and brands themselves to come and build on top of it.”
Admitting that they are “in the business of revolutionising retail and being a positive force for the industry“, I think that the upside of their millennial way of thinking is that it will certainly win them the attention of the younger customer. As for generation perssimistic, well I cannot help but wonder whether this good on paper idea will mean that the majority of high street brands attempting to keep up with the Farfetch’s of the retail industry could end up hiking up the price of their merchandise. Well, I think that remains to be seen.