Selfridges is offering a space for customers to unplug.
British department store Selfridges is tapping into several key trends with its new 3,500-square-foot pop-up “library” in the flagship London store. Two of our 10 Trends for 2011 play a role here. There’s De-teching—more people choosing to log off, at least temporarily—since one stated aim is to “to prompt people to switch off their mobile phones, computer and television screens and rediscover reading, literature and the inspiration power of words.” There’s also Retail as the Third Space: the idea that retail will increasingly serve as a “third space” that’s only partly about shopping, with unique experiences and environments becoming more important for physical stores. Here, visitors can relax on sofas to look through the “inspirational books,” attend an event (there are some classes and storytelling sessions), play around with a typewriter and so on. Four publishers worked with Selfridges to select the books (which cannot actually be borrowed), and several celebrities curated their own selections.
Also important is the trend we’re calling Objectifying Objects, which has more people fetishizing the physical and tactile; for example, this has spurred appreciation for stationery (one of our 100 Things to Watch for 2012) and coffee table books. At Selfridges, a Words Words Words shop sells “beautiful books,” stationery and other word-inspired goods. And the library gives shoppers something tangible to relax with, an alternative to their Kindle, iPad and other screens. Selfridges has said the pop-up is also a comment on library closures that are taking place across the austerity-focused nation.
Separately, Selfridges is getting up to date on tech trends, with fitting rooms that feature cameras, allowing shoppers to examine themselves from all angles and to send the images to friends.