The current environment means we need to completely rethink retail environments and experiences.
How can we design stores in a responsible way so that they enforce SOCIAL DISTANCING, REDUCE VIRUS TRANSFER and are SAFE?
With essential stores such as supermarkets and pharmacies have had to make quick changes to their spaces to make them safe for customers as well as staff. We have seen rough floor markings made from tape, perspex screens added to checkouts and even rules where shoppers could only enter stores with a trolley.
With more stores, cafes and bars opening, are there better ways we can design retail spaces to keep people safe?
IS THIS THE FUTURE OF RETAIL?
Separated dining areas.
A restaurant in Amsterdam has installed small greenhouses to separate customers from one another. This allows people to experience the joys of going out to eat whilst creating a personal and intimate experience.
Clever one-way system.
Flying Tiger stores have been using a clever one-way system ever since they were founded in Denmark back in 1995. Working in a similar way to IKEA, the one-way system allows customers to slowly browse every product, without missing a part of the store.
This way of moving around the store works well for current times in reducing interaction with between customers up and down aisles.
SONOS has made miniature spaces within their store to show customers how their products integrate into the home. This will cleverly work for today's needs as it allows people to browse products whilst being separated from other customers.
Argos allows customers to come into their store and digitally browse products on tablets.
This way of shopping reduces the need for customers to wander around and get close to each other. It also means that the stores footprint can be smaller and more focused on storing product for customers when they need it.
Click and collect
Many stores allow customers to do their shopping from the safety and comfort of their homes and then come and collect it from store. This reduces interaction as well as the need for stores to invest in a delivery system.
MR BONGO RECORDS
Appointment only shopping
Previously, appointment only shopping was mainly reserved for the wealthy in high-end stores. Now, this way of shopping allows customers to enjoy a retail environment without the worry of bumping into others. Mr Bongo Records, a record shop in Brighton, creates a personal experience for each customer when they come into store.
This way of shopping could open up a whole new genre of experiences and shopping in retail.
NEAR FUTURE FORECAST
Here are some key design aspects we will see within retail in the near future.
Whether retail environments use one of these or a combination the aim is to try to keep stores open and create meaningful experiences whilst keeping customers and staff safe.