More and more people are moving to built-up areas as the trend for urbanisation continues to grow. But space is in short supply, making it very difficult to achieve profitability in sprawling shopping centres, or even to establish them at all if the space is essentially unavailable. Urban stores can supply people with day-to-day products, from fruit and vegetables, bread and baked goods, to ready-to-eat snacks and convenience meals. And they can do even more too, as they are practically replacing fridges and kitchens as we know them. At the same time, they serve as a meeting place for the neighbourhood, offering a stylish seating area and coffee bar. We are designing urban stores to reflect a modern lifestyle home with clear contrasts between light and dark, selective use of colour and carefully chosen decorative elements such as real plants or unusual lamps.
Shopping itself is becoming smart and cashless, with smartphones acting as digital store cards. customers use an app to access the shop by means of a gate solution, as well as to activate their customer account and virtual shopping basket. While shopping, fully automated systems detect when and which products have been selected. Store employees are available to offer advice, make sure the shelves are well-stocked, or to prepare fresh snacks. After the customer has finished shopping, a control check takes place; if the contents of the virtual and real shopping basket match, the user confirms that the information is correct. Alternatively, the customer can scan goods at the self-checkout. Following the obligatory checkout via the gate, the cost of the goods is automatically debited from the customer’s account.