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How Has The Pandemic or Will it Affect The Arrangement of Stores?

2021-01-04

Darek Gocławski

How has the pandemic or will it affect the arrangement of stores?

article published in the Perfect Store Magazine, 2021/1, aut. Darek Goclawski

 

We design several hundred shops and restaurants each year, so we keep our finger on the pulse and smoothly respond to the current needs of commercial real estate in Poland.

Last year's limitation of the store's working hours forced the transfer of commerce to the Internet and the exit from galleries, which were very often closed, to the streets.

This is confirmed by the Colliers report: "Purchasing activity is shifting to housing estates" (https://retailnet.pl/2021/02/25/82204-kom comment-m-chrusciel-m-nasilowska-colliers-aktywnosc-zakupowa-przenosi-sie -na-estate-housing /). This movement encountered numerous new housing opportunities after closing restaurants, mini schools and small offices. Thanks to this wave of closings / openings, we received orders for adaptation projects or analysis of the suitability of premises on the streets.

The premises handed over in shopping malls are the second group of store interiors that have appeared in large numbers in our projects. We design stores, incl. for American brands and those, according to Buffet's maxim, buy cheap to sell high. This is reflected in numerous acquisitions of premises in shopping centers, and in the modernization of existing stores. The time of limited customer traffic is a great opportunity to carry out renovations, optimize the surface layout, modernize the installation or simply refresh the premises.

 

Moving on to detailed solutions related to the current situation, we have several areas of changes in the design of stores:

 

Safety area:

In addition to the solutions I discussed in the January issue of Perfect Store, customer counters, temperature measuring stations or stickers / instructions tailored to specific brands are appearing more and more often.

When designing stores, we try to provide contactless opening of the door (by setting the opening direction appropriately or enabling the possibility of an elbow / leg opening. We also modify checkout zones: on the occasion of much longer queues, we now have much longer zones for impulse shopping.

 

Area related to economics (financial and time):

"Smaller format, bigger design": we condense the experiences and the size of the store. The condensation of stores consists in reducing the space while increasing the attractiveness of the offer and the arrangement itself. This trend is due to the need to save time. As a studio, we have a huge field to show off here and, for example, when creating a restaurant, we immediately add a gallery, a shop, a cooking school and a website with the Ready 2 Go offer.

 

Area related to consumer behavior:

Vogue magazine recently announced "Influencers Are the Retailers of the 2020s" (https://www.vogue.com/article/will-influencers-replace-retailers-2020s), and we are indeed seeing a shift in the center of gravity from efforts to encourage purchase from stationary stores to the network. This applies to aspects such as the participation of visual merchandisers, display windows, staff activities, stocking and the arrangement of the store itself.

We must respond to this in every project by condensing the store, setting the plan wisely, providing the influencers / micro-influencers and stylists with the right tools, environment (wifi, light, background), events and some kind of procedures (encouraging / allowing to take photos, streaming, indicating the best exposure). It adds a lot of design work, invisible in the store but very fruitful later - in the presence of the online brand.

According to Business Insider, US companies will spend $ 15 billion on the influencer market in 2022, almost doubling over two years ($ 8 billion in 2019) (https://www.businessinsider.com/influencer-marketing- report? IR = T).

Online stylists provide support for influencers - a new profession or expansion of visual merchandisers competences. When designing a store, we must pay attention to places for training or creating the so-called "content" to the web and provide appropriate space in the store (with appropriate lighting, background and complementary products). Online stylists help brands provide the most advantageous online presentation of both the offer available in the store through optimal photos and further commented online, as well as the offer dedicated to online stores from the very beginning.

 

Our stores actually become showrooms or photo studios and the purchasing decisions themselves are made in the minds of consumers before entering the premises. The results of research from influence-central.com have been known for a long time: "More than 90% of women consumers consider online reviews extremely / very important when making a purchase, and 89% of consumers say they always / most of the time do online research about a specific product they have in mind to buy. (...) 95% of women consumers say they find an online review more important than help from a salesperson. And after reading an online review and deciding to make a purchase, 84% of women consumers will buy the product online, with 16% making the purchase at a brick-and-mortar store. " (https://influence-central.com/trendspotting/2015-influence-central-e-commerce-research-study-findings) and who misses this move, this gap.

 

To sum up, apart from classic safety, stores must give an intense brand experience / experience in a tangible way, using their advantage over online presence, and at the same time stores should ensure continuity with the brand's online presence. Premises outside shopping malls are returning to favor, and shopping centers themselves diversify their functions, verify lease agreements, reshuffle tenants and the size of space.

For years, our studio has specialized in creating a chain of stores and in a short time we are able to visit, inventory and wisely design both individual stores as well as large chains of stores, offices and service points throughout Poland.