It’s not just the physical infrastructure that needs to adjust, though; our contributors also urged architects, retailers, agents and landlords themselves to evolve in step with shifting demands, whether it’s by widening research efforts or exploring flexible leasing models. “The challenge – and opportunity – is to adapt and embrace how retail is experienced,” says Maker James Chase.
Indeed, as managing director of Portland Design Ibrahim Ibrahim notes, the advent of online shopping has seen “the physical space cease to be a piece of property” and become “a piece of media” with “a different type of revenue potential.” A brick-and-mortar shop’s ability to influence behaviour is now as significant as its ability to sell products.
“Whether it’s Patagonia, which promotes a narrative around sustainability, or Rapha, which lets consumers connect with each other to create a community, more brands are offering retail as transformation rather than just transaction,” says Maker Katy Ghahremani. “We want to feel that we’re creating a better world or a better version of ourselves when buying a product.”