Retail environments should be designed around customer habits. Do those habits change every day? No. Do those habits evolve a little every day? Yes.
Driving part of that evolution are advances in easy-to-reach and easy-to-use technology. The possibility of a complete grocery shop on your mobile phone delivered to your door at a time that suits did not seem possible just a few years back.
And the thought of downloading a recent blockbuster movie direct to any screen size you may have in front of your eyes to watch instantly changed a leisure event into a convenient experience. Just that one change, from event to convenience, transformed the habits of a generation.
HMV did not fail on the 15th January 2013, they failed back in the late 90s when they dismissed online retail as a fad.
This was compounded when online retail was expanded with non-physical products, downloaded or streaming to you and me. They ignored (twice) the habit forming pattern of not one but two generations.
To get the average guy out of his seat and physically travel somewhere there needs to be a valuable reason. It does not need to be a rational reason, it can just as likely be an emotion that stirs the average person to get up and go.
It could simply be great 1:1 service providing valuable insights into a product or service, or the opportunity to have some (or all) of your senses ignited at the same time. These are the experiences that claim space in your mind.
Some people may call it an event, but it is really back to the basics: provide the customer with a habit-forming experience that can only be consumed in that physical space, and they will come back.
Artisan bakers, wine merchants that sell by the glass with a selection of cheeses (I always end up with a bottle to take home) or a department store that makes it a day out, not a shopping trip.
These will win. Why? Because they provide one of the most addictive rushes available – enjoyment.