The retail challenge and how shops are going to evolve.

In topic: Architecture

Will the rise of online shopping bring the end of brick-and-mortar stores? The answer is definitely no. What online shopping will bring is the rebirth of the physical store. Its transformation to an experiential destination.


With online retail on the rise, shopping norms are changing. Digital shopping is effective – no doubts there – but many consumers still want to see and experience products physically. In response to this, architects have to come up with innovative ideas. They need to find suggestions out of the box, that give a whole new meaning to the term “experience”. After all, this is a world where everything moves fast and where you can do almost anything from the “comfort of your living room”. In a world like this you need to have a good reason to leave that “comfort of your living room” and experience something new. Something that you would talk about, something that could even create a memory.

Thalleia Exarchou jewelery store by Nimand Architects

Making technology part of the experience

Architecture needs to give an answer to this challenge. Forward thinking architects are already integrating technology – instead of ignoring it – into the physical shopping experience. Interactive screens in dressing rooms, for example, is an idea constantly gaining ground in some exclusive stores right now. Besides technology (which clearly is not the enemy) architecture has to look at the surroundings of a store and get inspired.


Connecting the brand to its location

Local relevance and the feeling of a certain uniqueness create a “special” experience and specialty is one of the most sought after attributes in our times. A message of connection between the brand and its location  is particularly important. It gives people a sense of a special treatment, of acknowledgment and respect. And these people are all potential customers. Uniformity is a thing of the past, and that includes also multinational brands.

Be playful!

Engaging the senses is another field where brick-and-mortar stores outscore any eshop. Architects and interior designers have the privilege of being playful, they can use textured finishes or particular aromas to connect with the customers. The future of physical retail stores looks as bright as never before. If we just realize that technology is not the enemy, but an extremely useful tool. If we realize that technology will help architecture unleash its creative powers.

Missoni Boutique by Nimand Architects

24 / 11 / 2021