Reinventing the Retail Storefront

Posted on January 21, 2019

How the Retail Revival will influence Construction & Design

Big Box stores like IKEA, Target and Macy’s will soon see a massive makeover as a result from the changes the retail industry has experienced over the last decade. The look and functionality of traditional brick-and-mortar stores will be shifting to smaller store fronts. Physical retailers across the country are beginning to rethink their store front strategies to stay competitive, specifically looking to construction and design trends, including:

Showroom Space

In certain circumstances, ‘try before you buy’ still holds value over convenience. This has even caught the attention of pure eCommerce retailers who are looking to open brick-and-mortar locations designed for this purpose. Companies like Warby Parker and Bonobos are just a few who have adopted this approach. These spaces focus more on trying out products over ensuring enough inventory is available. Inevitably, creating an increased need for inventory warehouses to hold the back stock of what was once housed at the big box stores.

Experiential Design

Consumers no longer just want to walk into a store, buy a product and leave. They could easily do that on their mobile devices from the comfort of their own home. Retailers need to focus on how to drive consumers to their stores. Creating engaging in-store experiences utilizing today’s technological advancements is the key (a VR area allowing consumers to “live out” using a certain product, an interactive directory where consumers can select different options that will be brought directly to them to try, a feature that ties app usage and the in-person experience together, etc.). In doing this, consumers don’t just leave with products, they leave with a memorable experience; ultimately creating more brand loyalty and word of mouth promotion.

Flexible Design

Since the idea behind smaller store fronts is to build and maintain strong consumer/brand relationships, incorporating flexible design aspects helps maximize the space for more interactive storefronts, i.e. you’ll begin to see more causal areas for big brands to host events.

An Inside-Out Approach

Expanding the brand past the four walls to enhance the customer experience. Building the brand into the building aids in creating better overall brand recognition and brings the retail space full circle. Incorporating the feel of the in-store amenities to the physical building, including brand colors, signature designs and any other key identifiers of the retailer.

A Transformation to Former Big Box Locations

The construction and design industry is being tasked with the challenge to begin rethinking the way Big Box locations utilize their space. The best example of this is the pop-up shops within departments stores, such as the partnership between Sephora and JCPenny. In addition to this approach, the construction industry has begun to envision a completely new use for former retail store fronts like Sears and Toys “R” US. Residing in prime metropolitan real estate markets, these commercial real estate spaces are optimal locations for potential multifamily facilities.

Contrary to popular belief, today’s consumers want more than to just order things online. They still want to have a physical location to go to where they can see and feel the products before they buy. Retailers are transforming their business strategies and are looking to CRE to help bring them to life.