Design Merchants Study Tour: San Francisco

Well I have been back from the Westfield Retail Study Tour for almost a week and have gotten straight back into awaiting projects. I have however had a chance to start going through the 4000 or so photos that I took, the three notebooks full of notes and sketches and to debrief from the many interesting conversations I had with the great mix of people on the tour.

With so much to digest from the tour I thought that over the next few weeks I would do a news-post for each of the cities we went to, starting with San Francisco and following with Seattle, Stockholm, London and Barcelona.

So first: San Francisco, California.

As soon as we arrived in San Francisco we had the chance to check out Market Street and Union Square. Of course we quickly found two of my favourite stores, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters which both had incredible store fit-outs and visual merchandising. (We also discovered just how hilly San Francisco really was as our hotel was on the top of a very big hill!)

The conferencing sessions, which went until lunchtime on most days, were a fascinating mix of presenters including GAP, Deliv, Oracle and Jon Stine (Cisco/Intel). There was a strong focus on retail in the digital age and how this had to connect with the in-store experience. One of my favourite presenters was Francesco Cordua who had redesigned the McDonalds Restaurants and spoke of the fascinating process of creating a new brand experience in the stores.

Most afternoons (and sometimes evenings) we would go to a variety of shopping areas. Amongst the highlights were the Stanford Shopping Centre in Palo Alto; that was a beautifully manicured open-air shopping mall. The Tesla Motors store in Santana Row, San Jose was also a standout.

We had a great tour of Westfield San Francisco and it was fantastic to see examples of the latest trends in store designs and hear about their centre activations. We also had a presentation of the ideas that were being trialled from Westfield Labs, who were situated in the centre.

That only touches the sides of the things we saw in San Francisco, we also went to the Apple campus, the Intel museum and of course had our photo taken in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, but I will stop there! Next post: Seattle!

San Francisco Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters, Market Street.

San Francisco Anthropologie
Anthropologie, Market Street.

San Francisco Converse
Converse, Market Street.

San Francisco Stanford Centre
Macy’s and the beautiful manicured gardens at the Stanford Shopping Centre.

San Francisco Apple
The Apple Store, Stanford Shopping Centre

San Francisco Bloomingdales
Bloomingdales, Westfield San Francisco

San Francisco Godiva
Godiva, Westfield San Francisco

San Francisco Tesla
Tesla, Santana Row