Westfield reveals vision for shopping centre of the future
Shopping centre operator Westfield has unveiled its vision for the shopping centre of the future by releasing a series of images to show what shoppers can look forward to in 2028.
Its ‘Destination 2028’ concept has been created with the input of a panel of experts including a futurologist, fashion technology innovator, retail specialist and experimental physiologists as the Westfield London centre looks forward to celebrating ten years in the capital in October.
Westfield’s Destination 2028 is depicted as a hyper-connected micro-city, driven by social interaction and creating its own community.
The images show how retail destinations might look in the next ten years. Features include hanging sensory gardens and AI-infused walkways in an environment designed to cater for a new generation of visitors and the growing importance they will place on experience, leisure, wellness and community.
The concept includes a ‘betterment zone’ where visitors can reflect in a mindfulness workshop, while a focus on sustainability sees havens of green space flowing indoors and out. Continuing the theme, Westfield predicts that allotments and farms will give visitors the chance to pick their own produce for their meal, while a network of waterways will offer not only an alternative route around the centre but also access to water sports as part of the centre’s programme of recreational activities.
According to Westfield, experience will remain king but on a whole new level with eye scanners bringing up information on entry about a visitor’s previous purchases and recommending personalised fast-lanes around the centre. In addition, magic mirrors and smart changing rooms will mean shoppers will see a virtual reflection of themselves wearing chosen clothes and accessories.
Other innovations might include smart loos that can detect hydration levels and nutritional needs and alert visitors to top-up their vitamin C or re-hydrate, and reading rooms that give visitors access to every book ever written.
Westfield also predicts that stores will become a showcase for classroom retail, with the makers and process behind any product taking centre stage. With leisure and entertainment becoming ever more important in attracting the next generation of visitors, stage areas will host a series of showpiece interactive activities and events.
Westfield said these trends are already shaping the future at Westfield London where a new outdoor events space is launching this summer as part of the centre’s £600 million expansion. Other new additions include Japanese food hall Ichiba and Puttshack, a super tech indoor mini-golf experience.
Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer at Westfield UK and Europe, said: “As we celebrate ten years of pioneering retail in London we’re already looking forward to the next decade. We’ll continue to work closely with brands to deliver innovative retail spaces that create the ideal environment for them and our visitors – including developing technologies that converge digital and physical shopping to enhance that Extra-perience in state-of-the-art surroundings.”
Westfield’s Destination 2028 concept also reflects the rise of the sharing economy, with rental-retail expected to become the norm for post-millennials who will be able to rent everything from clothes to exercise gear. More pop-up, temporary retail and co-working spaces will also emerge, according to the panel of experts.
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