The changing face of trade

Discovering new things – online, offline and between the line 

In anci­ent Greece, the­re were three types of trad­ers: Kape­loi, Nauk­le­roi and Empo­roi. Trans­la­ted in modern terms, kape­los would be the local trader, nauk­le­ros the inter­na­tio­nal midd­le­man with his own shop con­cept and empo­ros the franchisee.
Aristotle’s ide­al con­cep­ti­on of the city’s loca­ti­on was also cle­ar­ly defi­ned. Accor­din­gly, it is loca­ted two miles from the coast, brings its food from its own land as far as pos­si­ble in order to remain as eco­no­mic­al­ly self-suf­fi­ci­ent as pos­si­ble. The import of all dis­pensable artic­les is pro­hi­bi­ted, as is the export of essen­ti­al goods.

Sin­ce the 16th cen­tu­ry BC, trade and our cities have been con­stant­ly trans­for­med. The only thing that is still cle­ar­ly defi­ned is chan­ge. And with it the face of com­mer­ce, the task of the mer­chant and the natu­re of con­sump­ti­on. We are expe­ri­en­cing hybrid shop­ping beha­viour, mul­ti­ple use of space, modu­lar shop sys­tems, a cura­ted assort­ment, online, off­line and bet­ween the line.
Through COVID-19, chan­ge in trade has addi­tio­nal­ly ente­red a kind of par­tic­le acce­le­ra­tor. Many unknowns demand adapt­a­ti­on to human needs. It is not only about pro­tec­ting phy­si­cal health, our psy­che also wants to be pre­ser­ved. The best pro­tec­ti­ve shield for this is the accu­mu­la­ti­on of posi­ti­ve sti­mu­li and expe­ri­en­ces. Due to qua­ran­ti­ne, indi­vi­du­als depri­ve them­sel­ves of many of the­se things, making it all the more important to faci­li­ta­te posi­ti­ve dis­co­veries at the remai­ning points of human encoun­ter and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. Whe­ther in sta­tio­na­ry retail or online, i.e. on the couch.

How can we coun­ter this deve­lo­p­ment? One solu­ti­on is “seren­di­pi­ty”, the unex­pec­ted dis­co­very of some­thing com­ple­te­ly new. Or in retail: sur­pri­sin­gly staged “chan­ce dis­co­veries” that pro­vi­de the decisi­ve impul­se to buy online, off­line and bet­ween the line. Away from the pure point of sale, towards the “point of expe­ri­ence” – to aes­the­tic sales stages with a diver­se and cura­ted assort­ment. Modu­lar, usable spaces that invi­te us on a mul­ti-sen­so­ry jour­ney, trans­port­ing us into ano­ther world. And be it only until the next moment.

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