Evolution of Design in Commercial Spaces

design matter

Interior designers of commercial spaces need to take into consideration the needs of the customer alongside those of the employee. The use of ambient lighting, efficient shelving and a natural direction for the customer to circulate have long been key elements. Logically, aside from the inevitable introduction of new styles, colours and materials,
these requirements are unlikely to change. Rather than an evolution of design in commercial spaces today, we are experiencing a transformation in the buying experience itself.


Retail Market Experience 

Retail markets around the world are changing to adjust to emerging technologies, and design is one way to alter the perception of this experience. Shops are introducing more self-checkouts, which naturally result in fewer employees and consequently, less interior space is necessary to accommodate them. The new generation is one of people on the go; they do not expect to waste time waiting in a queue. They want to grab their products and leave a transformation from previous generations' experiences.

This change could be perceived as impersonal; gone is the friendly smile and small talk from your shop assistant. Past generations are likely to have felt cheated in the same way when U.S. grocery store Piggly Wiggly became the first self-service store in 1916. Rather than standing behind a traditional wooden counter, catering to the customers’ every need, shop assistants began encouraging them to put their groceries into their own baskets.
As retail today focuses largely on millennials, instant gratification combined with a stress-free experience is becoming the norm.


The Future

The future lies within the shopping requirements of Generation Z, something which retail markets are well aware of. This generation expects speed and availability above all else, something which has already been picked up on by Amazon Go. The design of this store allows shoppers to embrace the experience through computer vision and sensor fusion;
by swiping a QR code when entering the store, they can leave without queuing. This generation are also loyal to brands, but rather than wanting to put designer labels on display, their connection is to brand values and sustainability.


Customers today are gradually veering away from online shopping, heading back to the shops to appreciate the products for themselves in a tangible manner. This has resulted in the emergence of ‘Guide Shops’, which display their products in a simple and inviting way to provide a practical yet enjoyable experience. They supply digital reviews from real customers for shoppers to browse through, and promise the delivery of the item within hours; meaning no more trailing around for the rest of the day with heavy carrier bags. These shops require less space as there is no need for a stockroom, thereby reducing costs for the owner and creating a cleaner more streamlined environment for consumers.  


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