Payton Oliver

BA Honors | Industrial Design

Brick & Mortar Retail Revival


My name is Payton Oliver. I’m a storyteller & user advocate, striving to bring clarity to the non-linear through human-centered design methodologies…but more practically, I am an Industrial Design & Anthropology BA Honors candidate from Cincinnati, OH. I have found my niche in the fuzzy front end of the design process through design research internships at Haworth and IBM to ground my solutions in real human need. I hope to continue applying research to create joyful, compelling experiences through my role as a Spatial Experience Designer upon graduation.


Retail is dead.

Retail is not dead, nor is it undergoing an apocalypse or any other kind of catastrophe for that matter. But retail is facing a reckoning, particularly brick & mortar stores, which have morphed into return hubs for online shoppers. These stores are the anchors of our communities, the drivers of our jobs, the providers of our material needs. And yet, the growth of online shopping has caused us to devalue these pillars of our environment.

Retail must innovate to not only remain relevant but also leverage the vast opportunities available with new modes of consumer behavior. Shopping is an everyday part of the human experience–a valuable opportunity to inject modernity into a stagnant process. 

Tech is the villain.

Tech is not the villain; in fact, it’s the solution. Following close research of both retail stakeholders and shoppers, it is clear that technology is a vehicle to revive brick & mortar stores. This interactive retail research exhibit amplifies what consumers are already doing: using technology in a very human way to support, inform, and suggest meaningful purchases. 

The retail industry is signaling this need for change and as proposed in the video’s speculative visualization, tech can be embedded in existing hardware or can be utilized in digital applications to create personalized algorithms for shoppers seeking curation but desiring the immediacy and tactility of brick & mortar stores. Technology can afford new value propositions that revive our in-person retail experience and enrich product interactions.