The following is the 2nd part of an exclusive Impact Lab series called the Twelve Trends of Christmas by Thomas Frey.  Title:  The Docking Shops

People love to shop at places that are new and different.  They love to be surprised by their experience, and they are willing to pay for that surprise.

Traditional shopping centers have become too stagnant.  Sure, some of the displays change along with the merchandise, and occasionally a store is replaced by another store, but the pace of life today is much faster than that.  We don’t have time for evolution.  We only have time for revolution.

For this reason, a new form of shopping center will spring to life called the Docking Shops.  With a stationary common area at its core, the Docking Shops will be the central gathering place where businesses can plug-in. 

Mobile stores and traveling businesses will become all the rage, moving from city to city, pulling up to the community Docking Shops, open a few doors, and be ready for business.

RVs, trucks, vans, and other large vehicles will be converted into traveling storefronts.  As they “dock” with the Docking Shops, merchandise and service areas will expand into the common area creating an “open bizarre” feel for the shopping experience.

The commons areas would have bathroom facilities, docking office, and security center. Each of the Docking Shops would have an online presence, allowing traveling businesses to reserve spaces in advance and to give shoppers a preview of "who’s in town".

Most of the traveling storefronts will be one or two person businesses, nomadically traveling from city to city on their business adventure.  Others will work a regular circuit, showing up on the same day each week, building a loyal customer base.

Professional service companies such as lawyers, accountants, chiropractors, and other medical professionals will find this to be an effective way to market their services. Large retailers will also find this to be an effective way to test market a new line of products.

Consumer spending at the local Docking Station will be considerably higher than at traditional bricks and mortar shops because of the disappearing merchandise phenomenon – buy it today because tomorrow it will be gone.

Some versions of this idea are already in play:

  • VBOX in Singapore is a portable store in a shipping container, which can be set up temporarily. Any place, any time. Tag along with a photography exhibition or set up shop temporarily at a large sporting event. The VBOX comes self-contained and equipped with an iMac and iPod HiFi.
  • Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo recently transformed some large cargo containers into stores, toting them through New York City to introduce New Yorkers to their brand.
  • Comme des Garcons just opened a new ‘Play Box’ shop outside their regular store in Aoyama, Japan.

IKEA demonstrates their products with this unusual mobile display

ABOUT:  Thomas Frey is currently Google’s Top Rated Futurist Speaker.  He serves as the Senior Futurist and Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute.  For more information click here.

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