Retail Forecast: The Downsizing of Retail
Michael Bodziner in Retail, Retail, retail forecast, retail trends 2014

The Retail Forecast blog series is an exercise in prognostication. Gensler’s retail designers from across the country explain the trends currently affecting how people shop and predict how these trends will play out in the near future.

As it turns out, retail is not immune to the “paradox of choice.”

My recent interactions with retailers (and the consumers they seek to serve) have illuminated a very interesting trend: People have become overwhelmed with the number of choices available to them, and they want retailers to narrow down the options for them.

Rather than traipse through a big box store filled with myriad potential selections, consumers want a curated selection. They are on the clock. They want to peruse specific collections that feature offerings from around the globe. They want an exclusive number of choices. They expect retailers to demonstrate expertise and to use that expertise to narrow down the number of products on display.

Retailers have gotten the message and have begun to downsize both their store sizes and collections. Walmart has launched a line of neighborhood convenience stores; Office Max has established a rock, paper, scissors store concept focused on smaller collections of products. These types of stores offer a limited selection of merchandise; they eliminate the unwanted proliferation of choice that consumers detest.

Of course, this shift in the consumer mindset has given designers more opportunities to rethink how smaller stores can present specific collections of merchandise in an engaging manner. That’s the challenge retail designers face today.

McEvoy Ranch. Image © Sherman Takata

Michael Bodziner is a leader of Gensler’s global retail practice and principal in our San Francisco office. Constantly researching retail’s interrelation with society, economy and human emotional response, Michael is an advocate for authentic experiences that enrich the lives of both consumers and retailers. As a convergent thinker, he incorporates lessons learned from Gensler’s hospitality, branding and entertainment practices to create holistic retail environments. Contact him at
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