The face of retail in a dynamic South African market


Ever since some enterprising individual came up with the idea that used shipping containers cannot simply be dumped or cut up as scrap metal, but can be used as structures to replace formal buildings, South African companies have latched onto the idea and are coming up with innovative solutions to property development.

The retail market is constantly evolving and with volatile economic markets and shopping trends that are constantly changing, it is a real battle for survival for stores and tough competition for the attention of shoppers in the retail market.

One of several ways to create a cutting-edge retail shopping space is to infuse architecture with the psychological behaviour of shoppers. This means that a shopping centre designed to excite and intrigue consumers will make its mark and set it apart from its competitors.

Smaller shops, like those built from converted shipping containers, are smart in today’s challenging economic times. With more reasonable retail rentals, they give emerging artists, SMEs and entrepreneurs a chance to trade.

When designing a shopping centre, architects should consider leaving room for various open spaces in the centre. These spaces will be utilised as pop-up retail spaces giving retailers an opportunity for branding as well as expanding on the traffic flow from and towards their shops.

By utilising pop-up retail spaces, shoppers are confronted with products more easily as they don’t need to make a decision to enter a shop. Shoppers can be easily lured into such a retail space to look around and spend money.

One of the precincts utilising this principle is the 27 Boxes in Melville. 27 Boxes seeks to enhance the lives of the community and support entrepreneurs, it is a platform to expose, test and build.

The shopping centre that was built in 2014, has also been re-invented as a family and entertainment destination with water features, open air amphitheatres, sculptured gardens and many more carefully designed features to make it the ultimate, eat, play and shopping location for residents and visitors to Melville.

Consumers today are seeking a shopping experience. Traditionally the larger centres fulfil the shopping experience expectations of consumers. To meet and sustain such expectations in the longer-term, shopping centres have to offer good quality public space, ease of movement, whilst providing meeting places for relaxation such as coffee shops and restaurants. These facilities must make use of both indoor and outdoor spaces. This is one of the reasons for the popularity of so-called lifestyle centres.

Similar concepts in Europe served as inspiration for Melville’s trendy container-based shopping hub.

A welcome change from the frenetic activity in the province’s large malls, 27 Boxes is a great place to meet friends for a chilled shopping spree. There’s a choice of 70 stores to browse, then time for a quick coffee, fresh juice or leisurely lunch.

What’s also appealing about the venue is that it abides by the “local is lekker” philosophy of promoting home grown brands and creativity.



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