Westfield reveals vision for the future of retail


Destination 2028

Westfield has unveiled a vision for the shopping centre of the future, with a series of images giving shoppers a glimpse of what they can look forward to in 2028.

Westfield’s ‘Destination 2028’ concept has been created based on insights from a panel of experts including a futurologist, fashion technology innovator, retail specialist and experimental physiologists. CGIs have been revealed as the company celebrates a decade of pioneering retail in the UK capital and looks forward to what the next 10 years will bring for shoppers and retailers alike. Westfield London – now the Europe’s largest shopping centre following a £600m expansion – will celebrate its 10th anniversary on 30th October 2018.

Now images reveal for the first time how retail destinations might look in the next 10 years. Hanging sensory gardens and AI-infused walkways feature 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. Westfield’s Destination 2028 is depicted as a hyper-connected micro-city, driven by social interaction and creating its own community. New technologies are fused with back-to-basics including gardens and ‘classroom retail’, where people watch and learn from their favourite retailers, along with ‘rental retail’.

With wellness a priority, the concept includes a ‘betterment zone’ where visitors can reflect in a mindfulness workshop, while a focus on sustainability sees havens of tranquil green space flowing indoors and out. Continuing the theme, 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 access to watersports – an example of a vast programme of recreational activities available for visitors.

According to Westfield, experience will remain king but on a whole new level. Tech-enabled ‘Extra-perience’ will see eye scanners bring up information on entry about a visitor’s previous purchases and recommend personalised fast-lanes around the centre, while in magic mirrors and smart changing rooms shoppers will see a virtual reflection of themselves wearing chosen clothes and accessories. Further innovations will include smart loos that can detect hydration levels and nutritional needs, alerting visitors to top-up their vitamin C or re-hydrate, and reading rooms granting visitors access to every book ever written. In the pictures published today visitors can be seen walking along digital pathways, with delivery drones overhead.

Stores will also become a showcase for classroom retail, with the makers and process behind any product taking centre stage – from craftspeople creating a masterpiece in front of a watching crowd to resident artists painting in the studio and live gallery and events space. With leisure and entertainment becoming ever more important in attracting the next generation of visitors, stage areas will also host a series of showpiece interactive activities and events.

These trends of 2028 are already shaping the future at Westfield London, where a newoutdoor events space launching this summer – Westfield Square – has become a focal point of the centre’s £600 million expansion, providing a major focus on dining, entertainment and experience. Europe’s largest Japanese food hall ‘Ichiba’ and Puttshack, the world’s first super tech indoor mini-golf experience, are among the latest openings, while a new 70,000 sq. ft. Primark overlooks the new space.

Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer at Westfield UK and Europe, said: “As we celebrate 10 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.