From PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief, here's how three retailers are structuring their physical retail spaces to take shoppers on a journey through the brand

In the age of ecommerce, the role of the physical store has changed. It’s no longer primarily about purchasing a product, but rather about engaging with the brand. As such, store design is no longer just about how to best showcase products or help shoppers navigate the aisles, but about how to create the best experience.

Retailers are accordingly creating fresh visual identities in order to use the physical space to tell their brand story, highlighting their heritage and unique attributes through high design, bringing shoppers into the embodiment of their brand ethos and establishing an emotional bond.

In the following three examples, drawn from PSFK's extensive Store Experience Design Debrief, PSFK highlights retailers that deliver authenticity through store designs that reflect their brand narrative in order to show—not just tell—shoppers exactly who they are buying from:

This toy store has been designed as a ‘family experience store’ that combines merchandise, play and media to recreate the feeling of going to summer camp. Visitors step through a ‘secret’ door to be transported to a world outside of New York City. Each section of the space is dedicated to a different camp activity, such as arts and crafts or the mess hall, with a curated selection of merchandise. The theme of the store rotates every 8-12 weeks, with the first theme, Basecamp, meant to evoke the classic camp experience.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery New York
Starbucks’ 23,000-square-foot location in New York City is designed to be a high-end, immersive coffee experience. Beans are roasted in house, with Willy Wonka-esque tubes in the ceiling that transport beans from the 30-foot copper roasting silo to the coffee bar. The store also features sleek design elements like leather-bound door handles, tea-infused craft cocktails, mixology stations, Princi-baked goods, a giant in-store terrarium, a ‘scoop bar’ featuring a rotating selection of coffee beans from around the world and a 2,000-pound copper sculpture of the Starbucks Siren.

Bottega Veneta Ginza Flagship
The Tokyo flagship store of this Italian luxury fashion brand uses design to pay homage to its Italian roots, while reflecting the modern spirit of Tokyo. The store’s facade is wrapped in over 900 metal panels that have been arranged in a lattice pattern, evoking the brand’s signature woven leather design. The store’s interior features Japanese slate floors and displays and tables made from Italian marbles, as well as classic Italian furniture designs, such as Sesann armchairs designed by Gianfranco Frattini.

“There’s such a great opportunity to create emotive branded in-store experiences by designing space for personalization and convivial and ‘instagrammable’ or shareable moments,” says Simon Mitchell, co-founder of Sybarite Architects. For more on reimagining brick and mortar in the digital age, download PSFK's Store Experience Design Debrief, out now.