Store concepts after Corona
29. May 2020
The Corona crisis raises countless questions. Also, how the virus will affect our everyday working life in the future: What impact will the pandemic have on shop concepts? On hospitality design? On the design of an exhibition stand? – Dobas’ CEO Patrick Buchecker has outlined possible scenarios.
The first corona reports from «distant» China at the beginning of the year brought back memories of SARS and MERS, but not yet any serious concerns. The epidemics were too far away from our everyday life at that time. A few months later the «worry barometer» looks different, Corona has become a part of our daily life and will probably also have a lasting effect on the youngest member of my family – he is nine years young.
Impacts on store concepts
The worries bring questions. How do we move forward in the future? How is the global economy developing? How do we welcome each other in two years' time? Of course, I also ask myself questions regarding our work content: What impact will the pandemic have on shop concepts? On hospitality design? On the design of an exhibition stand? Although – or perhaps because – final answers are still missing, I have outlined possible scenarios and formulated theses that I would like to share with you:
- In shop architecture, mobility is becoming increasingly relevant, so that the proportion of traffic and exhibition space can be adjusted at short notice. In this context, the system lighting is also being modularly designed. With this new mobility and modularity, furnishing concepts are moving towards pop-up stores. Of course, the classic pop-up store functions at much shorter notice and the interior design is produced correspondingly more cheaply.
- SME retailers are investing in online trading and creating innovative e-commerce platforms. In order to stand up to established online giants, the unique selling points of shop fittings and personnel are being transferred to the digital space. This creates virtual shopping experiences in which potential buyers move through digital shops that encourage them to buy products, but also to visit the stationary shop.
- Virtual pop-up stores are establishing themselves. In this way, the attractiveness of a store concept can be examined before taking major financial risks and opening a stationary store.
- Hybrid concepts, which combine gastronomy, retail and services from similar business areas, increase economic resilience. In the event of protective measures ordered by authorities, there is thus a chance that the offer can at least be partially maintained.
- Gastronomic businesses design their kitchen equipment and process flows in such a way that they can be converted to take-away and delivery services in a short time. In residential areas there are food trucks that enable fast and healthy catering in the home office.
- The demand for antibacterial coatings and surfaces is increasing. They may even become mandatory in certain industries, such as healthcare and hospitality.
- What has long since proved its worth in Sweden has also become the norm for us. We move without cash and only pay electronically. A «stationary» cash register as a cash hoard is no longer necessary, payment is made on the fly, which also brings with it new forms of merchandise security.
Flexibility is required
Regardless of whether and to what extent the above theses prove to be true, crises always mean opportunities. They require us to critically question the usual paths and, where necessary, take new ones. Creativity and agility become soft skills that ensure operational existence. I am convinced that only those who can develop and implement solutions within a short time will be able to defy the crisis.