"Shopping centres of the future will be hyperconnected microcities"

"Shopping centres of the future will be hyperconnected microcities"

In celebration of the tenth anniversary of its London shopping centre, Westfield has released its strategy 'Destination 2028', containing delivery drones, smart toilets, sensory gardens and silent rooms for contemplation.

 

Nature meets modern technology

According to the shopping centre group, the future is all about 'retailtainment', meaning shopping centres will become hyperconnected miniature cities where nature meets modern technology. They will become, in Westfield's vision, places where craftsmen create their products before a live audience and where artists create a unique shopping experience. Moreover, future shopping centres will feature silent rooms where customers can read and rest, and activity rooms for workshops.

 

Offering a unique experience will become even more important by 2028, with a special place for water (so customers can enjoy water sports in the shopping centre and possibly even enter the building by boat). Hanging gardens will bring nature into the shopping centre, featuring gardens where customers can harvest their own fresh ingredients themselves. Moreover, a growing number of rental stores will cater for the ever increasing number of people who prefer renting products to actually owning them. Pop-up stores and co-working places will also feature more and more in the shopping centre of the future.

 

Personalisation through smart technology

Of course, no vision of the future is complete without fantasies of technology. The shopping journey should become as comfortable as possible with drones flying around, releasing customers of their purchases so they can shop hands free. Smart mirrors make sure they do not have to visit the fitting rooms with dozens of different sizes and colours, but use virtual technology to show how certain pieces of clothing will look. 

 

Smart toilets will give direct (but very personal) feedback as to which nutritional products you need, while personalised information screens show specific suggestions and an optimal walking route based on your preferences, needs and purchase history. Certain of these ideas will already be included in a new area in Westfield's London shopping centre that will blend restaurants, entertainment and experience, costing 600 million pound sterling.