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April 20, 2024

Live in the future: Retail stores that push the boundaries of design and technology

Ruhi Gilder
In a world where online shopping is gaining more traction, brick-and-mortar stores up their game to present unique shopping experiences. From virtual reality to fun workshops and immersive experiences, shoppers can have it all at these retail storefronts.
Farfetch Store of the Future, New York 
Online luxury retail platform Farfetch integrates the digital and physical with a store of the future in New York. Termed Augmented Retail, it uses a scanner for customers to “log in” with their smartphones on entering. Opened in 2018 in Thom Browne’s flagship storeFarfetch’s sales team can also view customers’ profiles, including purchase history and wish list to personalise shopping options. The connected clothing rack records items customers pick up, storing them in a smartphone app. Smart mirrors allow shoppers to request items in another size or colour, browse for alternatives and even pay without leaving the dressing room. This really makes us feel like we’re living in the future. 
Lululemon, Chicago 


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Lululemon’s outpost in Chicago’s Lincoln Park is spread over a whopping 20,000sq. ft. The luxury activewear brand’s first-ever experiential store has two levels, three studios for yoga, HIIT, hip hop and meditation, a Fuel restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner which serves healthy meals, beer and even cocktailsWhat’s even more exciting is that during classes hosted at the store, customers will be able to wear select Lululemon gear, free of charge, to try before they buy 
Gentle Monster, Dubai 

We’re going gaga over South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster’s flagship store in Dubai Mall, opened in 2019. According to a statement by the brand, “the Dubai flagship store portrays a hopeful future agricultural society on the part of the Earth which became prosperous with an addition of the 13th month. The store offers experiences for a diverse range of reflections on future farms and agricultural robots controlled by human beings in a fertile environment.” In line with the futuristic design style of the brand, the art installations and sculptures stretch your imagination. 
Natuzzi, Madison Avenue

The Italian furniture brand Natuzzi’s store on Madison Avenue, New York offers a virtual-reality shopping experience. The brand’s Augmented Store allows customers to enter a digitally rendered version of their own home and see how Natuzzi designs would look in their personal space. Customers wear Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset to move products, change their colours, and interact with the environment. 
Apple Store, Singapore 

Apple Marina Bay Sands

Apple’s first-ever floating store, rests on the serene waters of Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. Opened in 2020, the fancy façade has all-glass dome giving consumers a 360-degree view of the surroundings. It houses an enormous video wall, an underground boardroom and an oculus that lets in sunlight. Even more exciting is that collectively the staff at the store speak 23 different languages, making it inclusive for all.
Zhongshuge, Yangzhou 

Every reader’s dream come true, this bookstore and library in Yangzhou truly captivating. Shiny black floors create an optical illusion, and arched shelves form a cozy tunnel of books. A series of LED lights on the ceiling of the kids reading room, resemble a night sky studded with stars. No wonder kids and adults alike flock to this book haven!  
Nike House of Innovation, Paris 

Opened in the summer of 2020, Nike House of Innovation, Paris is the third store of its kind. Emphasizing the brand’s commitment to the environment 85,000 kilos of sustainable material are woven into the fabric of the store design and display fixtures at Nike Paris. Spread over 26,000 square feet, the store uses technology to promote touch free browsing and purchasing, AI fitting, personalised bra fitting, and connection to a global community of sports.  
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Ruhi Gilder


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