Trendhunting in Paris
In September I had the opportunity to hunt for inspiration in Paris for a few days. In pursuit of trends, I found myself at the Champs-Elysées, the grandest of the Paris avenues, connecting the Place de la Concorde and the Place Charles de Gaulle (where the Arc de Triomphe is located). It’s a zone where brands locate their most magnificent, state-of-the-art stores and showrooms. So I had a look inside to see what the “future stores” looked like.
On entering Sephora, I had the impression that the flashing screens covered the entire surface of the store. At the entrance, the latest commercials were displayed on the wall, and above the ceiling an advertising bar with multi-lingual messages, (including Chinese, English or French) was running. At every beauty station (and there were several dozens of them) current videos from brands or product commercials were displayed using numerous devices. Flashing screens tried to attract the attention and eye of the passers-by from every side. I felt like in a futuristic shopping scene from the Minority Report movie. The only difference was that the messages that reached me were not (yet) personalised. Future is now?
A few steps away, I found the complete opposite of Sephora, the Yves Rocher store. The window display itself was quite unusual for the Champs Elysées. The store was framed in … living moss. In addition, the interior of the store (located in a former residential building) had not been remodelled and the architectural limitations of the building had been incorporated into the space so that it felt like an interior of an apartment (there were rooms and corridors, for example). Glass, natural and living materials (mostly wood, moss and stone) were seamlessly integrated with technology (interactive screens and subtle animations on the walls, for example displaying opening flowers).
Some of the more interesting solutions were on view (from a completely different category) in automotive salons or car showrooms, common at the Champs Elysées, which often combined several different functions. For example, in the Renault saloon, right at the entrance there was a huge rounded screen, under which the car was placed. On the screen, a video played creating the impression of a vehicle in motion. The screen was thus a background to the presentation of the real car, and the audience watching could have felt like in a cinema (due to the size of the screen), not in a store.
In addition there are many different attractions waiting for visitors. Adults can enter a special space to “experience” the brand’s history, while children use the interactive wall to play.
Special kiosks allow you to instantly share in social media with the information and impressions of your visit to the salon.
On the first floor there is the L’Atelier Cafe, where you can drink coffee or eat something.
Toyota store, in addition to large screens, also working as a backdrop for featured models, had interactive kiosks with information for the fans of the brand, tables with built-in screens for taking a rest, and stands where you could test drive vehicles using special simulators.
Although I don’t personally like shopping myself, looking at stores (from very different market categories) from a perspective of solutions and innovation, was really inspiring.
head of research