Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Tokyo. Architecture designed by Kengo Kuma; Interiors by Starbucks in collaboration with Gensler.  

Great retail experiences begin with an understanding of what drives customers to visit a store or website. Armed with this knowledge, retailers can devise strategies that unite their brands with communities of shoppers. Knowing when people are visiting to get something done, to connect, or simply to have fun allows brands to deliver experiences that cultivate loyalty and improve the business.

Retailers must adopt a mindset of ‘never being done’: format redesign should be an ongoing process of implementing solutions quickly and refining them constantly, with retailers keeping their fingers on the consumer pulse and adapting store formats to respond to evolving consumer needs.
—The ever-changing store: Taking an agile, customer-centric approach to format redesign, McKinsey
Harman Experience Store, Munich

THE FAST & SLOW OF RETAIL

There’s a growing population of consumers who need quick and frictionless transactions even though they don’t have time to shop. On top of that, these same people are unwilling to sacrifice human connection and quality service. It all adds up to a situation that requires brands to balance the perks of fast retail (giving consumers what they want exactly when they want it) with the benefits of slow retail (providing deeply engaging experiences in virtual and physical  environments).

Microsoft Store Oxford Circus Flagship, London

AN OPERATING SYSTEM APPROACH TO RETAIL

Online shopping and the evolution of malls and high streets are creating a new form for brand engagement. Retailers who are thriving are doing so by taking an “operating system” approach to the design of their environments, considering the role that space, service, visual merchandising, brand messaging, digital, sensory, and activation strategies play in offering customers immersive and unparalleled experiences that respond to their ever-changing wants and needs.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Tokyo. Architecture designed by Kengo Kuma; Interiors by Starbucks in collaboration with Gensler.  

CYCLES OF DISRUPTION

Retail has been through disruptive periods before. But where previous disruptions were about efficiency or experience, we’re now entering an era that’s all about belonging. Consumers who have grown tired of chasing down experiences for that “Instagrammable moment” are seeking more meaningful and authentic opportunities to connect and co-create with a brand and its community. Brands that embrace this movement and offer a sense of purpose and partnership will be well equipped to navigate today’s retail environment.

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DESIGN FORECAST®
GENSLER RESEARCH INSTITUTE
SHAPING THE FUTURE OF CITIES

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