This excerpt from PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief explores the four key initiatives leading retailers are taking to elevate store design and experience in the digital age

Physical retail is going through a major transformation. Ecommerce has set new consumer expectations in terms of speed and flexibility, and now that shoppers can easily buy anything they want online, the store is no longer the end of the purchase funnel. In order to ensure that brick-and-mortar shopping remains relevant and competitive in the digital age, stores must experiment with new technology and creative activations. 

Creating a compelling store experience requires considering every aspect of the store design, from the fixtures of space itself to the experience that the shopper will have within that space. As described in PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief, the following four initiatives will help retailers identify the necessary design elements that they need to create a physical retail experience that continues to drive visits and sales in a digital age:

Let The Space Tell The Story
Thanks to social media, consumers today are very visually driven. Therefore, a store’s design aesthetic is becoming an increasingly important communication vehicle. There is an opportunity to highlight a unique brand story through well considered design elements, merchandising and tactile touchpoints that stimulate the senses and educate shoppers about a brand and products in a way that ecommerce cannot match.

Measure Experiences, Not Sales, Per Square Foot
Because consumers today can buy nearly anything they need online, the role of the physical store has changed. It is no longer just a place to purchase products, but a place to engage with a favored brand, becoming a marketing channel in its own right. Focus less on maximizing sales and more on maximizing experiences that surprise and delight shoppers. These experiences will create lasting emotional connections with your brand that can be measured in increased sales in a given market, whether they ultimately happen in store or online.

Be Flexible And Responsive
You’re not designing your store for one type of shopper on one type of mission. Ensure that your store design is able to tailor the customer experience, using digital tools to unlock a shopping experience that is dynamic and responsive to shoppers’ individualized in-moment needs. Use the store as a testing ground to learn about your customer, leveraging the behavioral and location data you collect to continually refine store design in order to adapt to changing shopper desires and behaviors.

Elevate The Store Beyond The Transaction
As inventory and points of sale shrink, there are new opportunities to make use of the physical footprint in more dynamic, interesting ways. Rethink your store design to determine what added value you can offer beyond the point of transaction, such as related services that drive continued engagement or increase speed and efficiency for ecommerce orders.

From architectural storytelling to interactive merchandising, leading retailers are experimenting with new activations that will elevate the value of the physical store experience. For more examples and insights, download PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief here.

Lead image: stock photos from Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock