What does the future look like for brick-and-mortar stores? That is the question we asked ourselves during the design of a new retail concept tapping into the way we shop, 21st-century style. To many people, a start-up aiming to sell products through physical retail locations could sound like a foolishly outdated idea at a time when e-commerce is booming. But for our founders, it is today’s consumer who is shaping their vision for a new kind of shopping experience.
This vision includes making the shift from viewing a store as simply as a distribution channel to re-imagine it as an experience platform. Consumers are invited to get hands-on with some of the most innovative products because no promo video can beat trying out a product yourself when you consider buying it.
Together with Tchai, a family business passionate about displaying brands, we designed the interior space. Tchai creates brand activation through concept thinking and helps brands to stand out in the retail space, which made it the perfect partner for us. The Rotterdam-based company used traditional and familiar components in its design, which are reminiscent of our own homes. The use of materials such as wood, stone, and glass helps customers imagine how the innovations on offer might become part of their daily lives. Creating this link to lifestyle is also the idea behind the store’s meeting space, an area dedicated to community building by bringing tech enthusiasts together in a living-room-like setting.
Yet stimulating design and experience is only half of this story. While shoppers go about testing goods, there’s more going on than meets the eye. Throughout the store, sensors and electronic devices are tracking shopper activity, interaction, and opinions. For young brands, the experience store is the place to see how their products perform in an offline retail environment and to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior. For more established brands the store provides a platform to optimize the experience and marketing surrounding their product.
So will this kind of experience-driven shopping bring new purpose to the high street? Only time will tell. According to Tchai and ourselves, it will and we will continue challenging established ideas on what a brick-and-mortar retail space can be. You can learn more about Tchai’s philosophy and how they successfully maximize the potential of their clients on their website. On this platform, the design company also shares their journey, including their vision, experiences, and how they are constantly evolving to keep inspiring others to create their own paths.