American outerwear brand The North Face has created a digitally enhanced, community-focused flagship in London. The store aims to entice the growing number of urban outdoor enthusiasts – according to 2015 research by the Outdoor Industries Association, in the US alone, nearly 50% of outdoor consumers live in or near cities.
Going against the traditional, linear mode of categorisation, the 4,305 sq ft space, conceived by London-based retail consultancy Green Room Design, displays products merchandised according to lifestyles – 'live', 'train' and 'explore'. Numerous video screens display footage of adventurous activities to convey the brand's passion for the great outdoors.
Adding a sense of contextual physical immersion (see Immersive Brand Spaces), 'Sky Windows' – an additional set of digital screens latched to the ceiling – display changing weather conditions.
Trading on the huge importance a sense of community plays in sport and now also in driving retail engagement at large (see Community & Commerce), one section is dedicated to events including product launches and talks with affiliated athletes, while also providing a space to relax. For more on this strategy, see Stores as Sanctuaries in Inconspicuous Consumption, Quiet Branding and Leaning Away from Purchase Paralysis in Retail Beyond the Algorithm.
The flagship also offers locker rooms, where shoppers who've signed up for out-of-store sports classes run by the brand can store their kit.
For more on reordering product segmentation according to lifestyle, not product type, see Oakley's Custom Tech Flagship, NY. For more on sports retail, see Seizing the Outdoor Sports Boom, Sports Retail Reinvented and Athleisure Engagement Strategies.