Retail Experience is the coefficient of a retail store and its store design. They both share a relationship that dates back to the 1700s. Digging up more, we found that much before the 1700s, the barter system which was started around 9000 BC to the first proper currency in 3000 BC (in Mesopotamia), the homo sapiens developed markets (800 BC) with merchants selling their products in Agora, Ancient Greece.
In earlier times, people were yet understanding retailing and developing the intellect for retail experience and shopping.
THE 1700s – 1800s
‘Mom and Pops’ store was a significant one in the chronological structure of retail stores. Throughout the United States many stores ranging from meds, grocery, general, fabrics, toys, and tools were opened. They were also not practicing extravagant retail merchandising and their sales were limited to need, visibility, and the strategic factor of capturing customer’s desire to support small family-owned businesses.
THE MID-1800s TO EARLY 1900s
Local generals were started opening, and shopping was initiated as the world entered the 20th century. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the world witnessing and experiencing Industrial Revolution that in turn created new jobs and standards of living. Many departmental stores were opening in cities like New York and Chicago. These stores were also giving demonstrations, lectures to wealthy customers to utilize their income in a feasible way. It was a kind of a shopping Aura (predecessor to shopping experience). At the same time, the first cash register ‘Cha Ching’ was invented and used extensively. It also became a part of retail sales for over a century.
Designed for experienced, shopping malls (indoors), 1st appeared within the Fifties and quickly became a middle for social events, event promotions, and plenty of different styles of social activities and gatherings. For over 20 years, shopping malls accounted for over 40% of retail sales. The experiential centers came in to provide mindboggling shopping and retail experiences to the customers that also drove revenues to the brands in ‘X’ times.
Big Boxes like Walmart started opening their stores in 1962 and these hyper stores were embarked with convenience, friction-free, and no-frill services. Consumers found it as the most efficient way of shopping as they can get everything they want. Eighteen years later these c-stores became conglomerates of over $500 Billion.
With the advent of the virtual world, e-commerce bloomed with shopping from computers. The e-commerce giant established in 1995 and in 2018 reported a net income of $10 Billion. With the evolution in the cellphone industry and the emergence of smartphones, these e-commerce websites came in the form of applications that changed consumer shopping behavior. The intellect of shopping was starting just from the consumer’s cerebrum.
BRIDGING THE TIMES
Time started bridging the horizons with the emergence of experiential retail stores which are felicitated with ROI driving retail store designs. These designs are the brainchildren of an experiential Retail Design Agency, where great designers curate award-winning designs for Big Box Brands. Not only this generated ROI, but a branding agency also plays its bit part by performing retail branding after planning branding strategies, branding activations, corporate events, and understanding the brand’s target audience by conducting deep market research.
Scientific advancements have led the stores to transfer experience through technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR). The future has also started shaping on the shoulders of these technologies. As this pandemic has posed the challenges of social distances many brands are now curating digital stores to provide experience to their customers on their six-inch smartphones. People are also getting adapted to these changes and are now feeling comfortable in the new working culture.