Split into four sections, the Retail Lab @ Glee will focus on four global lifestyle trends as identified by world-leading trend experts, WGSN, and brought to life by the Retail Lab’s Creative Director, Romeo Sommers, and the supporting team of experts from The HTA, PP8, Pleydell Smithyman, Creative Spaces, and Moore Consulting. These themes will be: Community, Family, ‘Re-Wilding’ and ‘Well-being’.
Trend 1: Community – bringing people together through gardening projects
With the increasing urban population, community gardening, shared gardens, and public spaces are becoming the new meeting places and the centre of community life. Garden centres are in a unique position to tap into this, providing a platform to enable people to work together to enjoy a greener lifestyle, even those without green fingers!
From mobile planting tables to a greater emphasis on herbs, cut flowers, vegetable and fruit, the Community section within the Retail Lab @ Glee, is designed to showcase how communities can be brought together, and how retailers can incorporate an area that enables customers the chance to get their hands dirty. From community GYO projects, workshops and training sessions, the desire to give customers a sense of belonging will underpin the Community trend.
Food miles is another idea that can be better communicated via the Community trend. At the Retail Lab @ Glee, inspirational ideas on how garden retailers can incorporate pick-your-own into their café environments will also be on display.
Trend 2: Family – combining quality time together with skill development
Garden centres are already well-known for their approach to family, with many incorporating kids’ play areas and family friendly facilities into the mix. However, the theme of ‘family’ within the Retail Lab @ Glee will go beyond this.
The role of the garden has changed. It is no longer just a place to work, or something to look at. The garden has become an extension of the home; an outside room. What’s more, gardens must incorporate all aspects of everyday living – from patios, play areas, outdoor entertaining, as well as being both child and pet friendly.
Projects are a huge part of the Family trend, and at Glee it will address the many ways that retailers can optimise this. From displaying products as ‘projects’, e.g. grow your own salad, build your own pond, decorate your shed, to inspiring ideas on how to help children understand the provenance of the food that they eat. But it’s not just children that can get in on the action, adults also benefit from this theme with fun ideas such as ‘grow your own cocktail’ and presenting ways to make gardening sexier e.g. ‘she sheds’.
‘Family’ will also address ways that retailers can bring the outside in, through indoor growing zones, and even interior barbeques and fireplaces, perfect for continued customer engagement throughout the year, even when the weather is classically British. Unique merchandising ideas will incorporate play slides for children, whilst product and design ideas will be displayed, showing how pets and gardens can live in perfect harmony.
Trend 3: ‘Re-Wilding’ – working with nature to create unique shopping environments
85% of people live in an urban environment, and this number is growing. However, there is a latent attraction to wildlife, and as the urban environment becomes greener there is a different market emerging.
This new market is characterised as having limited space available, and where gardens are far from conventional. Garden retailers have a fantastic opportunity to capture this market by providing inspiration, a can-do philosophy, and providing knowledge on the benefits of growing in small spaces, as well as looking at ways to encourage nature into the garden.
From natural wildlife settings, and planting scheme inspired by the influential Dutch designer, Piet Outdolf, to insect houses, wild flower seeds, bird feeders, the Re-Wilding trend will offer a fully immersive experience for those wanting to tap into this ever-growing trend.
The area will include a range of products and display ideas that demonstrate how retailers can incorporate the Re-Wilding trend in-store. Look out for a virtual reality pod, and special botanic store, and products linked to sustainability, water-saving and green roofs.
Trend 4: Well-being – creating outdoor retreats to regain balance
Wellbeing is a truly global trend, stretching across a wide variety of products and industries. The immediate reaction would be to look at ideas that promote health and wellbeing, such as healthy eating and environmental consciousness, and this is certainly true of the content on display within the Retail Lab @ Glee, however so much more will also be on offer!
There is a growing understanding of the importance that outdoor activities play in our psychological and physiological wellbeing. The benefits of healthy eating, exercise and mental de-stressing (mindfulness) are well known. However, there is an understanding of the positive aspects that plants can play in our life as well. Smell, sound, air circulation and recharging all help us study and perform better.
From eating food grown in-store through dedicated healthy living take-away schemes, and microfarming, to encouraging wellness through areas of relaxation and digital detoxes, the Well-being trend is all about taking a moment away from the stresses and strains that everyday throws us at.
Well-being within the Retail Lab @ Glee will also look at ways that garden retailers can maximise gardening as a form of therapy, and as a quiet retreat from the daily grind. A visit to the garden centre should be an experience, one that is full of opportunities to optimise all our senses – from scent, to sound, to touch.
Content within this section will showcase how garden centres can create a ‘decompression’ environment; a space that offers a pressure-free shopping experience. From sinking your feet into the grass, to filling your nose with the sweet scent of fresh herbs and fragrances, and even garden yoga, this concept goes far beyond products alone. The products that are on display will also be used in a brand new and fresh way, creating examples of retail areas that not only imaginatively display product but do so in a way that creates a truly green environment; one that consumers will want to create within their own homes and gardens.