Designing with 6′ in mind

The future of in-store shopping relies on how quickly and in what methods retailers can ease customer’s concerns about health and safety.

Our current state of pandemic consumerism, is driven by the need to social distance. It’s caused a rise in e-commerce but that’s not the solution for everything people need. Many products are not efficiently transported and some retailers aren’t set up for these new shopping methods. Causing shoppers to become frustrated with the disrupted supply chains, shipping delays and unreliable product availability.

So how will retail design change POST-COVID?


Omnichannel is the key term here.

Following the shopper throughout each stage from discovery to purchase with a cohesive message and story. This means marketing campaigns that bridge the gap between the digital to physical. Encouraging the customer to experience the product online or directing them to where they can test the product in real life. But the experience is not a one way transaction, it should also link the customer back to the digital space so that they can purchase as their own pace in a comfortable environment.

BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) is a great implementation of this strategy but how it’s executed with determine how successful it with be in the long run.


A trip to the store is no longer a mindless act.

Shoppers are on a mission, sometimes even dressed for it.

Some have a typed lists or others may be perusing down the aisles of TJMAXX or HomeGoods, but these are all planned.

Customers need to be guided around the store but the need for contactless shopping can present a challenge. The solution is signage, from the taped down arrows on linoleum floors to the video monitor on an endcap that explains the products features and benefits.

Woman shopping scanning qr code with smartphone on showcase sale advertising modern technology and fashion retail concept

With store associates busy stocking shelves and sanitizing, shoppers will be relying even more on the available signage to direct them to departments and product information. Incorporating simple and inexpensive technology such as NFC chips, QR codes, and beacons can enhance the experience by providing them with on-demand information.


As the country reopens in phases, temporarily or permanently, the future of retail has been forced to accelerate. Taking advantage of technology to enhance the in-store shopping experience is key to bringing customers what they need to comfortably shop, for now.

What other social distancing design considerations would you implement for retail?

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