In the News

Discover key retail design considerations, emerging trends and the future of shopping

In the ever-changing world of retail, staying ahead of the trends requires an understanding of the contemporary retail landscape and the ability to adapt to changing demands. As architects in this dynamic field, we play a crucial role in shaping retail spaces that captivate consumers and enhance the overall shopping experience. Let’s explore key design considerations, emerging trends and the future of shopping.

Location Matters

Retailers in their quest to find the perfect location, often focus on pre-lease as-is locations. However, as architects, we have the unique ability to showcase unconsidered possibilities to our clients. The chosen location should align with the client’s vision and brand identity, offering a platform for their products to resonate with the target audience.

Considering Retail Traffic Flow

In the traditional retail setting, the split between front-of-house and back-of-house was a common norm. However, as we are adapting to contemporary demands, retailers are now emphasizing a smoother traffic flow and optimizing space. Timeframes for design and implementation have condensed, calling for efficient planning and execution to meet the fast-paced demands of the market.

Speed bumps within the store layout are a strategic tool to guide customers. They are cleverly positioned to captivate attention, enticing shoppers to pause and engage with products strategically placed to influence their purchasing decisions.

Design Considerations:

Brand Identity and Vision

Understanding the client’s brand is essential. The design must seamlessly encapsulate what the client stands for, allowing the retail space to serve as an extension of their unique identity.

The Path to Purchase

Crafting a journey for customers is crucial. Guiding them through the store, providing a logical sequence of emotional connection balanced with product identification and destination. By designing the environment with this in mind, enhances their shopping experience and increases the likelihood of conversions.

Innovative Product Displays

Gone are the days of mundane shelf displays. Retail design now explores innovative ways to showcase products, creating visual appeal that sparks interest and ultimately drives sales. This can be done through both analogue artistry and interactive digital platforms.

Tapping into Preferences and Personalized Connections

Understanding consumer behaviours, selections and brand preferences allows for a tailored approach to a store layout and product placement. Retail design should strive to establish a personal connection with customers. Creating an extended emotional bond, that goes beyond point of purchase, increases the likelihood of customer retention and recruitment.

Embracing Flexibility, Nimbleness and Sustainability

Retail spaces should be designed to accommodate changes driven by consumer demands, product growth and brand evolution. The modern consumer considers how a brand impacts the environment. Retailers must align sustainable principles into their brand DNA.

Future of Retail

Digital + Physical

There is no longer a hard-line distinction between e-commerce, innovations of technology and physical brick and mortar establishments – they live cohesively integrated. Retailers are transforming shopping into an immersive entertainment experience.

Post-Pandemic Growth

Luxury retail, banks and certain niche markets like cannabis and discount stores are thriving.

Consumer-Centric Retail Spaces

Anticipating the future of retail involves envisioning immersive experiences that transcend traditional shopping. This can be created by designing a memorable experience by presenting products as a “touch-and-feel” experience for consumers.

Retail is no longer just about selling products –it has become an art form and an experience. Ware Malcomb’s retail portfolio includes projects for some of the nation’s largest retail chains, as well as for regional retail development and corporate companies. Our experience serving national retail accounts in a multitude of markets offers our clients the advantage of consistency, quality and exceptional service.

Explore our retail expertise

WM Canvas


Anthony Simon