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Top elements influencing store design in the next decade

Canada Goose's new 'inventory free' concept

Retailers are designing the next generation of brick-and-mortar experiences — concepts intended to strengthen shopper relationships and drive repeat visits.

Personalization, “retailtainment" and channel blurring will all influence store designs well into the next decade. These and other strategies will be highlighted at a variety of sessions during Chain Store Age’s upcoming SPECS 2020 conference, March 15-17, at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas. 

As retailers plan for the next wave of physical retail customer relevancy will be top of mind. As a result, store designs will feature innovations and elements that can drive brand recognition and customer engagement.

These design strategies will focus on:

-Personalization. Understanding what resonates most with shoppers is the foundation of successful customer relevancy. For example, sock retailer Stance’s flagship in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood has taken extra steps ensure this location resonates directly with the area’s customers.

Besides designing the store to replicate a SoHo loft, Stance’s SoHo flagship features merchandise with graphics inspired by both national and local artists, athletes and pop culture. The centerpiece of the store is a floor-to-ceiling mural positioned behind the cash-wrap which features photos and painted portrait images of New York City.

-Immersive experiences. Retailers across the board are trying their hand at attracting shoppers by engaging their senses. However, the newest store from outerwear brand Canada Goose takes this concept to a new level.

The store, which is dubbed “The Journey,” immerses shoppers in the sights, sounds and spirit of the outdoors. Putting a new spin on the brand’s signature “Cold Room” — where customers can try on jackets under frigid conditions — Canada Goose set the room’s temperature to 10 degrees Fahrenheit, and surrounds shoppers in real snow and floor-to-ceiling Arctic landscapes. Original films about the cold and nature are projected on the walls — and the films will change seasonally.

Additionally, the store features not one piece of inventory. Instead, the experience influences shoppers to try on products and order items for same-day home delivery. 

-Convergence. Savvy retailers are merging new services to create an elevated retail experience. For example, Lululemon’s newest store, which opened last month in the Mall of America, features a restaurant that serves a variety of healthy beverages, food and snack options; studio spaces that offer weekly yoga and fitness classes, as well as locker rooms equipped with showers. The store also has room to host large events, including movies and concerts.

Best Buy is also dipping its toe into the convergence pool by expanding its focus on health care. In 2018, the company acquired GreatCall, which offers easy-to-use mobile products and customer care services to help older adults live more independently. In June, the electronics retailer acquired a senior remote monitoring company, Critical Signal Technologies.

Building off of these acquisitions, Best Buy planned to add dedicated fitness spaces within more than 100 Best Buy stores by the end of the year. In this space, the retailer features a collection of connected fitness products, including spin bikes and rowing machines, that can virtually connect users with trainers in real-time. 

-Frictionless shopping. The ability to offer a seamless shopping experience is a high priority across physical retail. To ensure they can offer frictionless shopping, retailers of all sizes are leveraging innovation specifically designed to drive customer engagement and an efficient shopping experience.

The Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, New York, has designed an entire store based on this concept. The store, which Walmart calls its “Intelligent Retail Lab,” or IRL, features AI-enabled cameras, interactive displays, and even features its own data center.

The store also delivers a frictionless shopping experience by offering six self-checkout systems, six manned point-of-sale (POS) lanes, and a buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) department. Customers are also encouraged to download the Walmart app to locate merchandise, check prices, make shopping lists, and get store-specific information. App users can also launch Walmart Pay, and make in-store purchases through their mobile device.

Meanwhile, travel retailer Hudson is creating its own frictionless shopping experience. Coinciding with its next-generation store concept, the company is designing stores with self-check-out stations to speed up transactions for its always-on-the-go, often time-starved customers.

The new concept will also feature digital displays that highlight localized consumer content, as well as seasonal displays. This flexibility enables Hudson’s to feature select product categories, and quickly display the latest merchandise.

To learn more about what lies ahead for store design, join us at SPECS 2020, March 15-17, 2020, at the Gaylord Texan, Grapevine (Dallas). To register, click here.

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