In this article, we will dissect the comprehensive term of ‘Store Development’.
Retailing is a constantly evolving space and needs to remain fluid in order to adapt to ever changing consumer behaviour and purchasing habits and retailers are continuously adopting new technologies to drive efficiency and improve process throughout their estate.
In recent years we have made significant progress in creating more energy efficient buildings and these improvements are being integrated into store development project plans to take advantage of the cost reductions they bring.
In this modern era, energy waste and environmental pollution control measures are at the forefront of store development and are measured, controlled and accounted for throughout the store development process.
In addition, retailers are collaborating to make more efficient use of their floor space by literally cutting these spaces up to allow for new consumer experiences that will drive greater foot fall. By offering more under one roof, the customer can make less journeys and we are now seeing DIY stores within supermarkets, gardening products in apparel retailers and the regeneration of the high street by big box brands returning to small format stores.
Here, we talk further about the components of store development that encompasses stock, fixtures and fittings and how these form the part of store development that will deem the project either a success or a failure based on some key factors;
What is the project cost?
There is a cost to be factored into store development plans – If the store is being re-flowed, stock needs to be de-merchandised and fixtures and fittings dismantled, then the process reversed to create the new layout that will deliver the objectives – The new fixtures and improved layout with impeccably merchandised stock will allow greater customer flow, enhanced customer experience and increased basket spend.
What is the time-frame from commencement to completion?
Disruption can be costly. Frustrated customers lost to competitors creates the risk that they will never return. Efficient use of the 24/7 activity principle, allowing for continued trade and factoring in what is allowed to happen and when based on jurisdiction, is crucial in achieving completion on time and within budget.
Think of the store as a jigsaw puzzle whilst store development is in progress. You don’t want to visit only to be able to get 50% of what you planned for, so fixtures and stock are moved continuously to allow for work to continue uninterrupted whilst allowing you to complete your shopping trip in full. This takes a team of highly skilled installation and merchandising personnel, with many moves involved from opening the box to completing the puzzle (and usually throughout the night to keep disruption to a minimum!)
What is the objective?
Retail businesses rarely set out to spend money without an objective. Construction improvements, technological advancements, energy efficient enhancements, right-sizing, bringing in concessions, improving store flow, increasing or decreasing range or maybe all of the above?
As a customer, you will always remain the ultimate focus in store development. To smooth the transition you may even see temporary meet-and-greet personnel available on-hand to help you find what you are looking for whilst the development project is underway.
Once the work is complete, you may initially need to adapt to the new flow. Perhaps you may not notice, but chances are you will have spent a little more than usual and if that’s the case, the store development project has been a success!
Ultimately, investment needs to show the desired return within a realistic time-frame and the increased returns for retailers can be huge when they get it right and will result in:
- Returning customers
- New customers
- Higher spend per visit
- Increased visit frequency
Now we have dissected the comprehensive term of ‘Store Development’ and just what it involves we can understand how retailers place the customer at the heart of their planning strategies and how much work is involved in achieving the final result.
Lee Singers | Business Development Manager, Merchandising & Store Support