Intelligent and anticipatory mall design that plugs into the psychology of the customer and anticipates the market helps to maintain sustained shopper appeal
By Director Jeremy Salmon
Developers are happy when their schemes are filled with people and activity, creating a buzz, being talked about and, above all else, being used. People are happy when their aspirations and expectations are being catered for – when they get more from a ‘shopping experience’ than simply buying things and get a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction and enjoyment.
As retail designers, it’s our job to shape these spaces to make them work for the customer’s ‘front of house’ expectations whilst being fully in control of the back of house infrastructure and commercial planning criteria – two very different types of knowledge that must come together in a unique way on every single project.
If we look more closely at the so-called ‘glitzy mall’, and define that as something based on creating bright, clean, clear and attractive spaces with units for high-end and aspirational brands, there’s an interesting pattern that emerges – with today’s glitz often becoming tomorrow’s ‘so what’ average.
In practice, it’s intelligent and anticipatory design that offers the solution for sustained shopper appeal and so the burden of responsibility rests with designers to keep re-inventing retail space for the next generation and the next set of customer expectations aligned to the context – where, when and catering for whom.
‘Glitzy’ is ever evolving and copying a successful customer experience from one location and replicating it in another may win you short-term impact, but the more sophisticated strategy is to anticipate and to re-imagine the retail experience specific to its context in order to sustain that freshness and vitality that matters.