Why Re-design Retail Spaces?
Pandemic-induced norms may have driven online sales to dizzying heights, but brick-and-mortar stores will always retain a certain appeal. They may have to be refurbished – out with the old and in with the new. They may have to cater to the requirements of online shoppers, who will want to shop online and visit stores for collection and return of purchased merchandise. They may have to indulge in a full re-branding of panels, logo, appearance and incorporate sustainable features.
However, as pandemic-caused lockdowns and restrictions limp back to a near-normal reality, people want to drive to strip malls, out of town retail outlets or other stores for much-needed retail therapy. Hence, the re-design of retail spaces, or retail building design or retail space planning, may be of vital importance, utilising the support of high-quality retail drawings, retail rendering, retail construction drawings and 3D modelling for stores.
Recent surveys show that 61% of consumers rely on physical stores for regular domestic shopping needs. Thus, stores need policies that make shopping a safe experience for customers. Just how do retailers rise to the challenge?
- Incorporate technological changes, eg. check-out free and touch-free shopping, making shoppers feel safe by reducing physical interaction.
- Improve online integration within physical stores, eg. menus of items on tablets
- Re-design spaces to enable reduced physical exchanges, eg. mobile payment systems rather than static counters.
- Re-design store layouts for separate entries and exits, while guiding customers along a one-way path inside.
- Improve product displays, focusing on engrossing shopping experiences.
- Experiment with small-format/concept stores, offering limited stocks with relevant services and customised merchandise.
- Use retail space more as showrooms, storing extra merchandise in stockrooms to maximise product exposure.
For consumers, the retail experience must involve convenience, speed, accessibility and relevant information. In today’s normal, where people want to spend as little time as possible in public spaces, customers will want to find what they need, compare it to the alternatives, decide on their purchase, buy the chosen items and leave the store at top speed. If technology can make the shopping experience more efficient, then it’s a win-win situation for retailers and consumers. Here’s what technology can do for retail:
A Holographic Greeter
A ‘virtual woman’ (or ‘man’, but there are chances of a larger crowd if it’s a woman) hologram talking about products or services in a public space is going to be interesting, eye-catching and will build curiosity. This holographic greeter can easily replace an employee and cost less. It also means not having to worry about social distancing between employees and customers. Virtual greeters easily, effectively and quickly communicate discounts, resulting in increased sales.
‘Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall’
We can all reflect on the story of Snow White and her wicked stepmother’s magic mirror (the one that was so painfully honest) with interactive mirrors. These mirrors offer product suggestions and style advice, a virtual shopping assistant, no doubt the kind that knows when to be silent too. Interactive mirrors help customers choose garments and thus increase sales. Shoppers can either hold an outfit in front of them or try it on and then step in front of a full-length or countertop mirror.
The mirror will recommend accessories and where to find them in the store, helping move customers between departments. When not being used as a mirror, videos on the type of earrings and sunglasses that suit different face shapes as well as how to tie a scarf for different effects can be shown on these ‘mirrors’. The mirrors can also help book appointments or relate details of new products. They can be used in sports stores, entertainment venues, airports and beauty salons in addition to garment outlets.
In fact, different retail outlets need different approaches to layouts and design.
Specifically for fast-food outlets, restaurants and supermarkets with eating spaces, re-design could involve the following features:
- Dining areas can be physically separated by glass or other transparent dividers to satisfy concerns about exposure while still connecting visually to circulation spaces.
- Create one-sided/linear eating areas where customers maintain a safe six feet distance while sitting down, eg. tenting (pic), parking lot greenhouses, etc.
- Introduce specialty pantry items, cookbooks, dishes, or gift items at the counters of eating spaces.
Customers shopping for furniture may need their own space or a semblance of privacy to recreate the experience of using furniture at home. Sections can be created in furniture outlets using low bookcases or cabinets and folding screens, where furniture, lighting fixtures and accessories can be matched and showcased in small areas.
Strategic space planning and merchandise display can optimise retail space re-design. What if available retail space is limited? Here are a few easy ways to make small retail spaces effective:
- Accent Walls – A bold colour on one wall can add drama and make a retail space seem larger. This illusion can be achieved with printed fabric or wallpaper on one wall, while including eye-catching textures and patterns to the space.
- Window-like Effects – Windows open up small spaces. Window spaces can be cut into walls separating two small rooms to create a more spacious ambience. White linen panels across an entire wall and drapes around tall, narrow mirrors can create the illusion of windows, more light and movement.
- Vertical Limits – Item displays on different levels is visually appealing and maximises space. Shelves at different levels on walls frees up floor space and can display merchandise prominently.
- Neutral Palettes – Neutral colors, such as ivory and gray, look classy and help avoid a cluttered look in retail spaces. Smaller brightly colored items can be used as accents while positioning merchandise with enough space between them.
- Innovative Shelving – An ornate painting frame and its stretched canvas can be used to pin products on, such as jewellery and smaller items. Antique wrought iron headboards and other flat items can be propped against a walls to display material, towels, garments, etc., occupying minimum space while setting a mood.
- Bookcase Dividers – Open bookcases can section off spaces and display products while being airy. They can be used to change layouts easily.
- Effective Lighting – A combination of track lights, lamps, sconces and picture lights ensures that all the retail space is well lit, while introducing atmosphere and variety with layers of light.
- Shipping Containers – Refurbished shipping containers are being increasingly used as an affordable brick-and-mortar alternative for small businesses. Container owners can transport these shops to new locations easily. Portable coffee bars, fast food eateries, etc. can be run in portable stores that can be easily sanitised and entry can be restricted or monitored effectively.
Last, but not least, retail sales can be considerably impacted by colour in retail spaces, so any re-design should seriously consider the effects of colour.
Colour Me Happy
Studies show that colour can account for up to 85% of the reason why people buy a product. Not just the product, but surrounding colours can also influence consumer purchasing. Different colours create different emotions and retailers can use that to their advantage. How so?
- Colours capture themes, concepts and brands effectively. A sports shop or beachwear retailer can choose colours that represent sand, water and sunshine. Blue is associated with water, green with grass, red with fire.
- Shops or hypermarket corners that sell gardening equipment and supplies can reflect garden spaces, using green walls and brick red accents to represent foliage and garden pots.
- Warm colours, such as oranges, browns and yellows communicate warmth and are inviting and reassuring, while cool colours, such as greens, blues and violets are calming.
- Happy oranges keep customers lingering and look magical at night with the glow of clever lighting.
- Bright yellows and reds grab customer attention, stopping people before they walk by, but they must be used in limitation, as too much red can be agitating.
- Colours increase brand recognition by 80%, studies show. Incorporating logo colours into retail design beyond just wall paint markets the brand effectively. Shelving, merchandise tags, business cards, internal and external signboards and paper bags can match the logo’s colours.
Ultimately, the many facets of retail re-design makes it essential for retailers to invest in the support of reliable and experienced retail building design and retail space planning support. Detailed and near-flawless retail drawings, retail rendering, retail construction drawings and 3D modelling for stores can have a significant impact on the design and construction process for retail spaces, leading to increased retail sales.
XS CAD has valuable experience providing retail building design services and retail space planning drawings for engineers, architects and retailers. Our range of services for structural, architectural and building engineering firms, such as consultants and contractors across the world, include retail drawings, 3D modelling for stores, retail construction drawings and retail rendering. We have proven to be a preferred BIM outsourcing partner, due to the high quality of our 3D models and retail drawings, created by using Revit, AutoCAD, Inventor and BIM 360 Design for cloud collaboration.