"An “on-demand mentality” and a yearning for unique experiences can give the physical store a new impulse (and reduce our carbon footprint in the process)."

Remember these trades from way back when? The authentic cobbler who makes his own shoes from a piece of leather, the butcher who prepares his own special artisanal sausages, or the candy store where you feel you’ve just walked into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory...

Of course you don’t. We’ve become so accustomed to exchangeable formulas with a thin coating of customer engagement (in the shape of technological gimmicks and flimsy visual incentives), that you need to add a sense of authenticity and inspiration for customers to buy the generic products from your store.

The result: a downward spiral of weak traffic, retailers who scream out “SALE!” practically all year long and stores that are buckling under the weight of slow-moving inventory.

Sure, I’m probably exaggerating. And sure, the coffee bars that select, roast and grind their beans and the bakeries that bake their gluten-free bread in traditional fashion are shooting up like wild mushrooms in trendy inner-city areas. But if you look at the general trend, we’re still trying to connect the dots of supply and demand in the traditional manner, through the old-fashioned supply chain.



Consumers are yearning - besides for convenience -, for surprise, entertainment, unique experiences and on-demand products and services. Stores and shopping centres are yearning for traffic and added value.

That’s why I’m calling on retailers and brands to seriously give their own interpretation to the trend of the store as the workshop.

The possibilities are endless:

  • Produce: The store as factory
    Korean eyewear brand YUN produces tailor-made glasses in under 20 minutes at its Berlin store, while Unmade can (industrially) knit your one-off clothing items.
  • Assemble: Craft end products from semi-finished products in your store
    At Nixon brand stores, you can make an appointment to put together your own unique, personalised watch at the customisation bar. Likewise, more and more supermarkets are developing so-called “makeries” to bring authentic craftsmanship back to the shop floor.
  • Tailor & Customise
    At Converse Blank Canvas in New York, you can give your All Stars your own personal touch, and at Uncover Amsterdam they’ll be happy to give your products a personal “tattoo” with a laser.
  • Repair & Recycle: Give products a second life
    In the Nudie Repair Shop and the Denoism Atelier, your denims can be patched up endlessly or you can let the denim artists give them a complete makeover.
  • Inspire, Educate & Entertain: create an inspiring fun experience for your brand, products or processes

Lush organises instore parties, where you and your best friends are immersed in their world, while Reebok offers instore fitness classes in its FitHubs.

And the effects? More brand awareness, stronger customer loyalty, more traffic, better profit margins, smaller carbon footprint (sustainability!) and genuine added value of your physical store. So it looks like there’s a lot of work in store!

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