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THE NEW RULES OF RETAIL DESIGN - PART 2
10 December 2015

Target Store Design-1Target Store Design-2Suite Supply - Dutch RetailerSuite Supply - Dutch RetailerSuperCheap Auto LED Light

THE NEW RULES OF RETAIL DESIGN - PART 2

Welcome to part two of the new rules. They’re constantly changing so stick with me.

At a recent meeting with Scentre Group we were told that there are design guidelines but we designers are encouraged to break the rules. So you could argue that the new rule is that there are no rules. Or that the rules remain the same but the goalposts are moving. Whatever. Here are five more.

6 - VALUE DOESN'T MEAN CHEAP

Dolly Parton used to joke that “It costs me a lot of money to look this cheap.” If you are selling goods at value prices remember that you add value by presenting them in a way that’s meaningful to the customer. The formula for value is Value = Quality x Experience ÷ Price

Price is clearly important but if your quality is basic then a great customer experience increases value. Look no further than Target’s new store concept for an example. A great fashion story, talking to women of all ages and shapes, crisply and simply designed, with great lighting. Great touches include keeping fixture heights low for good sightlines, full-length mirrors for shoes, and running mannequins for active wear. It’s very simply and economically done but very well considered- and that’s what’s evolved Target from being a discount department store to a value retailer.

7 - IF IT'S NOT BEING BOUGHT, YOU NEED TO SELL IT

Some things, like newspapers and toothpaste, just get bought. Customer engagement level does not need to be high. Other goods with more complex paths to purchase, like bicycles or mobile phone plans, need to be sold. It’s why they don’t put Hugo Boss suits in vending machines.  Some customer experiences need to be hosted. Labour costs are high so we need to make it as easy as possible for sales staff to engage customers and convert sales in a friendly and efficient way. Store planning and presentation of goods must facilitate this.

Suits are a case in point. Go to any large conference and you’ll see evidence that most men have no idea how to buy a well-fitted suit. Most department stores offer racks of black and navy blue suits expecting to be bought. Consideration of the path to purchase, training and visual aids for staff, and well-planned dressing rooms that facilitate good communication with customers, will increase sales and result in happy staff and happy customers. Dutch retailer Suit Supply not only have a photography style that makes the product look so cool it almost sells itself, but also value add with instore tailoring.

Designing from the salesperson’s point of view is vital- all it takes is one team member to get frustrated, and you have an unhappy customer with 800 Facebook friends.

8 - IF YOU CAN'T SEE IT YOU CAN'T BUY IT

This doesn’t mean adding more lighting. (See rule no. 4 from last edition.) What it does mean is that you need to think about how customers look for things. Stores aren’t places to store goods any more- they are there to engage and sell. Finding the product is one thing. In a large format store the category signage needs to be clear and easy so as not to waste customers’ time. Once they find the product it needs to leap off the shelf at them.

One small example: at SuperCheap Auto we had the insight that car care products are the Health and Beauty category of auto retail. A lot of thought and attention goes into the packaging and it’s designed to be sold in sets, like shampoo and conditioner. So we put in LED shelf lighting. Guess what, customers noticed the product and sales increased.

Overcrowding can be a common problem. Sometimes it’s not that you can’t see the product, you can’t even get it off the rack. Which leads to…

9 THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY STARTS AT YOUR DC

In planning for how goods leave stores we also need to consider how they arrive. Designers need to understand the product journey in order to build the customer journey around it. Each affects the other. Think about the journey from your DC to the customer’s home as one trip. Cost of sales is important. Your sales staff are there to engage customers. Tasks like replenishment should be made as easy as possible, and goods should arrive in a format that takes up the least amount of your most expensive resources in a shopping centre- space and time. We are working with two national retailers on streamlining this journey, and it starts with getting a thorough understanding of the process- end to end! Target has a great example of $10 towels, which are displayed on a pallet in a box with the price pre printed on it. No one needed to unpack them or put a price on the shelf.

10 - KEEP MOVING

I’m writing this in McDonald’s at Cremorne, a restaurant I designed with Allister Jennings and Eduardo Villa about eight years ago. Eight years is an eternity in retail and yet it’s still here. We designed it to last, and it hasn’t dated. What has changed though is the entire menu and service offer. The menu board has evolved to fully digital and the menu is now interactive – at self-service kiosks you can now design your own burger and pay for it on the spot. You can use your phone to provide customer feedback. Adaptability has allowed it to keep moving with the times.

Stopping is not an option in retail. Customer expectations have changed- we are all customers and it’s all about us. To paraphrase Howard Saunders, we’re not looking for AN experience, we’re looking for THE experience.

There’s the challenge- and that’s what makes it fun!

 

Gary McCartney is the owner of McCartney Design and can be reached on newbusiness@mccartneydesign.com.au

10 December 2015
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