Consumers are still spending on retail, but which stores they’re going to and what they’re spending on is fundamentally changing. The year wasn’t so much an apocalypse as a reckoning, and the common thread through these events has been brands big and small forced into pondering fundamental questions about the purpose of physical spaces. Why does a store need to exist? And what should a store actually do?
Before the internet, the answers were simpler. Stores were where
customers bought things. Their other jobs included offering customers
information and good service, and maybe having an atmosphere that made
it enticing to enter and wander around. But selling goods was their main
reason for being.. . . more