Bricks Over Clicks? Architecture Drives Customer Experience

Bricks Over Clicks? Architecture Drives Customer Experience

With the holiday-shopping season upon us, how and where we shop depends on the day and the experience. Black Friday, with 7.4 billion in sales this year, has notoriously been known for pre-dawn lines at the store’s entrance. (No thank you.) Small Business Saturday encourages us to shop local. And, Cyber Monday is all about the online sales (while you hide your screen at work).

We’ve all seen the news of large brick-and-mortar stores closing due to declining sales. Economists and shoppers wonder if we’ll see more vacancy signs in shop windows. This weekend’s sales showed an increase mobile-device shopping with 65% of all e-commerce purchases. Similar to past years, visits to retail stores decreased. Plus, a lot of the store visits were simply to pick up purchases made online.

With Amazon and online retailers covering your list from A to Z, why do shoppers choose bricks over clicks? A simple answer…humans want the experience!

The success of the brick-and-mortar store depends on that customer experience. That experience begins with architecture. The building’s design sets the shopper’s expectations as a destination and a social event that can’t be found online. The architecture represents the type of products that can be found in the store.

Remember when pre-internet shopping featured large store windows with the latest products in competitive displays? Walking down the sidewalk of any major city was a feast for the eyes, especially during the holidays. (Window-Display Designer was a coveted job.)

Stantec_Retail DesignConvenience has NOT replaced our need to be social. Shopping is an event that engages more than your sense of sight. Many groups still travel to New York City just to shop for the holidays because it delivers that feeling…bundled up, the smell of food vendors, and the sounds of traffic and the Salvation Army bell. That energy is indescribable.

New and renovated retail space must be reimagined and designed as a destination where people gather, not only to shop but to share the experience and support those locally-owned store owners who sell items that you must see (and touch) to believe.


sources:, stantec-retail