Last Thursday, October 22, Miquel Àngel Julià Hierro, Director of Strategy and Design at Grup Idea has participated in the second session of Live Retail Day to talk about retail architecture. Live Retail Day is an online event organized by UOU! Live Retail where the latest trends and developments in the sector are analyzed.

In the session, Carlos Aires and Alejo Lozal from UOU! Live Retail. For just over an hour, topics such as the evolution of architecture in the retail sector, the improvement of the shopping experience, the design of disruptive, adaptable and sustainable stores, omnichannel in large retailers and Human to Human contact were discussed.


The architect, present from the first phase of design

Retail stands as the most disruptive sector at the forefront of transformation in space design. To begin with, the linear purchasing process has ceased to exist for the consumer, according to Miquel Àngel Julià. The customer who enters the store already knows the product and, most importantly, contacts the brand only when he decides. “That is why we must ensure that the consumer wants to enter the space and drag it off the mobile screen,” he said.

Aware of this new need, in a few years the process of creating retail projects has completely changed, as well as the involvement of professionals at each stage. “Formerly it was a linear and patterned process, now architecture professionals can intervene from the beginning, in the formation of naming, brand conceptualization or at any other point to achieve brand coherence and attraction to the physical space “, has explained.


Enhance the shopping experience, in large and small retailers

Currently, the consumer is online and offline at will and depending on the moment and brands must stop seeing the online space as competition. “Retailers must integrate their physical and digital spaces and bet on an omnichannel strategy. The physical experience should be just as good as the online experience, which ultimately is still a brand experience ”, he declared.

In fact, large businesses must invest in their physical spaces and offer unique experiences in each store. “Thinking of something repeatable does not make sense because the consumer no longer wants repeated locations. The customer wants a space to buy a product and gain a shopping experience. There is no specific solution for all businesses, as experts we must accompany each business and act project by project. We must detect problems but also detect needs ”, he suggested.

When asked how to improve the shopping experience in small establishments, Miquel Àngel Julià has commented that many small establishments have already achieved this through proximity, creativity and the use of useful sales channels such as WhatsApp without the need for large investments in technology. “Being disruptive also means recovering the essence and taking advantage of the singularities of each place, different depending on where it is located, an aspect that the big brands should recover”.


Sustainability and closeness in the deal, the keys to the future of retail

During the session, the idea that the world of architecture has always been the slowest and, in relation to sustainability, “we have not thought too much about the life cycle of materials” was also highlighted. “Now everything is changing: we are not only talking about modular pieces in spaces, but about systems: small elements that allow us to make a global with very different configurations in different rooms. Once its use is finished, you have the possibility of assembling and disassembling with a different use ”. This is one of the possible ways, according to Julià, of making sustainable retail architecture and at the same time a unique design aimed at people, accompanied by a human to human treatment.

Another important point that has been talked about has been the importance of policies that promote mobility and sustainability. “We have to make the ‘City of 15 minutes’ a reality, which means having work, the children’s school, basic services and leisure just 15 minutes from home. For this, we need a mobility network that will help large brands but will also strengthen small businesses ”, he explained. The Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya is already leading a project related to another level, the “Catalonia of 40 minutes”.

Live Retail Day is a UOU! Live Retail, and with the collaboration of the Zaragoza Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Design Institute Spain.


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