April 4th, 2018

Design 4Retail

To truly revolutionise in modern day retail, stores must look to redefine their environments to align with the latest wellness trends. There is no denying that consumers are placing more value the idea of wellness – but the definition has certainly evolved in recent years; the concept no longer limited to just being fit. It is an association with emotional, physical and mental health – the holistic approach to achieving the better self. It is this wider scope which has seen retailers across various sectors adapting their strategies to align with an ever-evolving consumer demand.

The Cultural Shift

Driving this trend is the cultural shift in consumers prioritising this concept of wellness over materialism, the desire to combine looking good with feeling good. Starting with the rise in athleisure in the early 2010s, the trend continued to be realised through an obsession with Danish ‘Hygge’ – the art of wellness and contentment.

The blurred lines between this wellness trend and the physical store lies within the store experience; the overarching concept that retailers must curate spaces which elicit an emotional response.

The Curated Spaces

Across permanent retail spaces, we are seeing brands recognising the importance of embracing product ranges and services which address the concept of wellness as part of retail.

Just last year, Saks Fifth Avenue opened their Wellery Studio – an entire floor dedicated to promoting wellness as a lifestyle. More than a shopping experience, the space compromised of 22 individual spaces for fitness classes, treatment rooms, athleisure apparel and further services which homed in on creating health conscious experiential services.

Capitalising on this wellness trend also – the Selfridges Body Studio. A statement space within the department store, created to bring a previously neglected category into the limelight and not only celebrate the product – but promote an empowering and inspirational experience with lingerie.

However, the concept has not been limited to the extensive spaces of department stores. Tucked away in trendy Shoreditch is the adidas Women’s Studio, a scandi-designed space dedicated to empowering female fitness with community classes available weekly.

This ‘fitness kinship’ environment is mirrored in Sweaty Betty’s latest London flagship, the three-story store made up of sales space, a fitness studio, a café and a blow dry area; each dedicated to promoting the concept of wellness as part of the retail experience.

The Future

As consumers, we’re moving away from the idea of splurging on materialism in favour of treating wellness as the new luxury.  ‘Retail therapy’ now co-exists with the idea of wellness as an experiential retail offer and those brands whom commit themselves to recognising the importance of memorable, immersive and dynamic spaces will see themselves thrive.