Retail: Brick Building and Bit Building

Retail: Brick Building and Bit Building

With over 15 years in the retail design business, I field one question frequently: “Is it slowing down?” The askers almost always mention that EVERYTHING is AVAILABLE ONLINE. They, and you, might be surprised when I say that, fortunately, I still have a place in the industry and that I am still very busy.

I work for a design and build company, which has experienced growth since the 2008 woes. All the while, online shopping has also grown in almost every segment in retail. According to ABC News, more shoppers are spending more money on Cyber Monday than those going to actual stores on Black Friday. With the world located so conveniently in the palm of our hands, brick-and-mortars need to think bigger—and they seek the help of retail design companies to envision stores that become destinations. Retailers like Whole Foods are thriving in urban settings with wine and coffee bars and convenient readymade hot meals. Has your favorite movie theater added more dining options?  If not, they might soon!

Here comes the hazy part. Designers and retailers have been attempting to incorporate technology into store designs. Most attempts have failed upon inception—think QR codes and “click here” digital signs—except for those in the electronics industry. Companies like Sony and Samsung are creating their own tangible selfies. The explosion of store-in-stores at big box electronics stores is due to one phenomenon: lifestyle advertising. By creating these lifestyle environments to spotlight a complete product line, the public gets the entire brand in one resonating visual image. It is a win-win for the product and the brand, and, ultimately, for the retailer…and me! Even if a customer visits a store to interact with the product and seeks the help of customer service but buys the product online, the brand still gets the profit.

Where is retail headed? Let’s imagine a world where we wear iballs (a better version of Google Glasses), and we drive virtual cars (zero carbon footprint) to a virtual Mall of America. We walk the stores and even ride the rides from the convenience of our couches. And when we are hungry, we can peruse the food court and 3D-print a meal from our bedside printers. I imagine the food will taste a lot like plastic.  Some things are worth the effort.  And that’s my job, making retail a rewarding experience.

Jeremiah Albrecht – Creative Director

Designer and Creative Director Jeremiah Albrecht brings more than 15 years of design experience to Chandler Inc. Prior to joining Chandler, Jeremiah worked with several top notch design agencies such as Worrell and Carbon Collaborative. Combine his professional experience with a degree in Furniture Design from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Jeremiah knows first hand what it takes to approach projects creatively.

Chandler Inc. 

A design and manufacturing company that specializes in high impact retail displays, branded environments and exhibits. From custom fixtures to large-scale rollouts, Chandler employs quality materials, skilled craftsmanship and incredible attention to detail. With over 20 years of experience, Chandler specializes in innovative design and complex program management featuring work with clients such as Andersen Windows, The Home Depot and Under Armour.

Photo Credit: Abernathy Photo

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