Aisles of Life: Outline of a Customer-centric Approach to Retail Space Management

Lene Granzau Juel-Jacobsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The article argues that well-established principles of urban design are highly relevant for retail management and applicable in regards to a much needed customer-centric turn in space management within retailing management. In particular, supermarkets, hypermarkets and larger retail chains are governed by a space management tradition that heavily draws on principles of utilitarianism and instrumental rationality. Yet, any physical retail space accommodates a separate and distinctive, but not independent, social space which must equally be addressed if attractive retail spaces are to be grasped, created and maintained. In fact, the standardized and repetitive design of many larger retail environments such as supermarkets appears to build on uncontested traditions of space management and tenacious myths about consumer behaviour and preferences that are challenged as urban design studies are consulted. In reference to current urban design research, the article concludes by suggesting five propositions and measurements for the customer-centric quality of retail spaces that take as a starting point the appreciation of the social space that any retail space management presupposes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)162-180
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Space management
  • Nudging
  • Urban design
  • Retail layout
  • Servicescape
  • Atmospherics
  • Customer experience
  • Built environment

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