The Evolving Nature of Retail

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Times have been tough for retailers during the pandemic, not only did they lose fortunes in lack of sales but when everything did open back up again – the constantly changing restrictions over social distancing, ventilation and sanitisation made matters worse for the beleaguered business owners.

If you are considering the upgrades to your business in a post pandemic world or are just about to launch a business with a retail premises then you will need to consider the following retail construction projects


No longer a secondary consideration, with covid restrictions in certain premises came the guidelines to ventilate well with multiple people inside. If you are starting your site from scratch you would be advised to bring in a contractor to design your airflow to make it safe as possible for your clientele milling around – be it in an office, shop or bar. Infection control was shown to be much more effective with suitable airflow.

Traffic management

Rather than the historic layout of a site which took into account different strategies, designing the correct route for your visitors to minimise gathering and choke points has now become paramount. Previously you may have wanted people to naturally gather at a certain point to absorb some of the ambiance, look at certain aspects of what you were selling or gather to discuss important topics of the day but now it’s about keeping people moving in wider open spaces. A retail construction specialist will be able to help you create a space that is on brand but also minimises risk for your clients.

Screens and partitions for certain areas.

Things like partitions between washbasins, changing rooms that would normally have been an open space (yes they still have those) and protective screens for your customers are all new considerations you will have to make to give your visitors and employees the best and safest experience possible. If this is a long term solution then it’s worth investing in to get the right look for the business without taking away from the personal aspect of the workplace or retail premises.

Rethink the customer experience

Some businesses have evolved by putting the customer experience above all else -take ikea for example. You are funnelled through, one group at a time following a set of arrows on the floor – through a carefully constructed showroom that lays out all the major trends for you and how you can pick them up in the “warehouse”. Ikea have made their name and their fortune working this way – not allowing the customer to linger and bounce around on beds and sofas while a salesperson comes to chat to them for ages. New ways of working in retail may allow for approaches like this – where people can wander through a layout that is interactive, perhaps with QR codes to fill their “basket” while someone picks it for them at the other end.

There are many more considerations to be made in this brave new word – post pandemic – tech focused and consumer driven. We may be entering that futuristic landscape we saw in adverts from the 50’s but it’s taken a major world event to push us away from the archaic past and into the bright new future.

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