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Consumer Trends in Asia

Inisghts from Conference panel:  CONSUMER TRENDS IN ASIA: OVERVIEW OF CUSTOMER’S CHANGING EXPECTATIONS

Retail is no longer just selling goods, but rather a combination of commercial and social activities. Acacia, Trends Strategist at Trendwatching, along with  Arnault Castel of Kapok and Clive Chow of PH Alpha Design Limited, gave a very insightful panel discussion about the disruptive trends in the retail world and the transformation of the retail sector in response to such trends.

Mrs. Leroy shared some new tools that can be explored to better meet consumer expectations. They are contextual omnipresence, messaging control based on social media platform, and virtual reality technology which can bring refreshing experience to customers.

“The place is not for shopping, but for something to happen”,  Arnault Castel, Founder and CEO of Kapok

Mr. Castel, based on his first-hand experience in operating Kapok stores, stressed the importance of providing a “magic moment experience” for consumers. While online shopping is everything about efficiency and convenience, offline shopping is more about the experience. In this sense, retail space needs to provide more enjoyable and entertaining experience to customers.

 

“Retail itself has to be entertaining”, Clive Chow, Director, PH Alpha Design Limited

Mr. Chow put forward the idea that the fever of online shopping demonstrates that people still love buying things. Therefore, the main task for architects and designers of retail space is to attract people to come back from offline shopping. To achieve this goal, it is crucial for shopping malls to establish their typical characteristics or “themes” to be outstanding. At the same time, shopping malls should also be multi-functional, which allows it to be a destination by itself where people can spend their spare time.

 

It is true that technology is changing people’s life in every possible way, including shopping experience. However, at the end of the day,  the retail shopping experience is unreplaceable. People are still looking for an immersive shopping experience that can only be obtained in the real world. The challenge for retailers and retail real estate developers is to thoroughly strengthen such advantages of retail shopping and create a sense of belonging through space design as well as intimate interactions with consumers.


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MSRED Columbia University

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