PHILOSOPHY

We take an entrepreneurial view of design.  We love the idea of long term relationships and always think in terms of partnership.  If our clients succeed we succeed.

HOW WE WORK

Services are provided according to a process of collaboration between all primary parties.  Goals, tasks, and desired outcomes are organized around client approved parameters.

WHY CHOOSE US

We are design advocates for our clients best interests, mentoring them through what can be a daunting process, happening in an area outside of their normal business practice

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INSIGHTS:  A DISCUSSION ABOUT RETAIL DESIGN

Gaddis Architect specializes in all phases of retail design, design management and construction. If maximizing the success of your business by optimizing the performance of your store, or commercial space design is a goal, then attending the following “Insights” could provide some very real benefits. Many common, and some not so common, design challenges are analyzed. Solutions aimed at increasing retail traffic, creating visual presence in various environments, and expressing not only a particular shopping experience but also the business’s brand, are presented. We think that all design is, on some level at least, retail design.  Please scroll on, start a dialogue, contact us anytime.

Store Fixture Design: Adding Technology Improves on an Already Good Thing

A relationship with a quality fixture manufacturer is essential for any retail architect. Just ask Bryce Sills and Heather Bezanson from Ennco Display Group, one of our favorites!

A Concrete Problem – There is a surprise offspring of the new “borderless” retail paradigm that seems almost liberating because, finally, something can be defined in terms of a concrete problem.  One having to do with store fixtures.

Is the Store Closing? – Did you notice that the merchandise in the drug store is all pulled forward on the shelf – more than usual I mean – implying that the space in the back is not empty?  When it starts to become so obvious that we begin to think that the store might be closing, it’s time for a change.  Many retailers, even those embracing technology, are still stuck in the old “big box” store planning mentality,  I hesitate to bring up Toys R Us again, but as Steve Dennis, writing for Forbes, tells us, “boring, undifferentiated, irrelevant and unremarkable stores are most definitely… dying…”

Curating an Inventory – The point being that changing the physical retail environment from a warehouse to a museum involves completely revisiting how an inventory is displayed and impacts the size and layout of a store. Curating an inventory, i.e., “show rooming,” means presenting it in terms of a multi faceted value proposition.  It means incorporating a physical product into a marketing message using multiple and sometimes interactive types of media.

Multi Function – Suppose, for example, I walk into a store looking for new sunglasses.  I walk over to the display and see that there are lots of frames and brands as well as examples of available coatings, lens colors, and an educational video about what all of these do.  There might be a nearby kiosk allowing me to use my phone to access my eye wear history, insurance, prescriptions, exam dates and finally a scanned image of my face with recommended frame style, size, and shape. Maybe I find that there is an indicator on the store fixture that flashes when I pass an appropriate option based on the information in my profile. Once I find a frame, I am able to see other colors and finishes, check availability, see how much it costs, and read customer reviews right there on the display.  I might then sit down with the optician so that he or she is able to give full attention to positioning the lens and finalizing my order.  Sound improbable?  Take a look at Amazonbooks in NYC and then say that.

Competing with Amazon – I understand that many retailers will neither want, nor be able to directly compete with Amazon.  However, once a retailer gets over the initial shock, incorporating technology into a retail display program may not be as difficult as one would imagine; especially if the designer has a good working relationship with a store fixture fabricator experienced with the product line, offering a wide selection of standard interchangeable parts, and capable and willing to making adjustments.  One such company is Ennco Display Group, who we have been pleased to work with in the past and recently met at Vision Expo in NYC.  It is important to keep in mind that adding technology to an existing fixture is done to improve on an already good thing.  All of the the thought, planning and testing that goes into creating a captivating visual display is not wasted because technology must be added to how it functions.  Consider this:  not only did Amazon go into an old Border’s space, but the store also looks somewhat like Hudson News, who has been doing face out merchandise displays forever.

Teamwork – If you are a retailer thinking about introducing technology into a store design, my first recommendation would be not to over complicate what must be done.  Examine resources already available to you, i.e. POS system providers, inventory system providers, advertising and media consultants.  You are already their customer so ask them for help.  See what functionality is already on your website and make sure it coordinates with what you will provide in the store.  Finally once you have put your plan into writing, connect with a hardware/specialty consultant and introduce him/her to your design team.  Team being the operative word.  I think you will find that it is realistically possible to stay relevant in the “evolving” but never “disappearing” world of “bricks n mortar” retail.

“Bricks n Mortar:” A Cog in the Wheel of a “Buy Anywhere” Paradigm

Does all this mean that Dick’s should install a bowling alley in their store?

Okay, maybe that is a bit much, but one must admit that a steady stream of league bowlers would go a long way toward increasing traffic, neither would it be bad for business.

It is that time of year again.  Marketing guru’s are expected to predict the future and tell us all about the hottest trends for the new year.  Not to be left out, I attended ” Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2018,” our local event, and for sure, anticipation abounded;  almost all of it having to do with serious internet marketing, and leading me to ask how might “bricks n mortar” retail be directly impacted?  My first inclination is to say, “not at all!”  That is until I stretch my thinking toward a broader impression and admit that, for existing and future owners of physical stores, the entire discussion is about “bricks n mortar.”

Seen from this angle, all of the complex online marketing campaigns and related in store technologies are implemented with the goal of enticing a customer to move out of his or her house and into a particular shop.  What he does when he arrives, the experience, has been a store planning topic, including the integration of technology, often dealt with here and elsewhere.

New is the perception that the actual built retail store is only a cog in the wheel of a “buy anywhere” paradigm.  It seems we are living with a new retail reality.  Joe Pinsker writing about Urban Outfitter’s venture into the world of pizza, quotes Marc Vetri, the pizza chains founder who says, “…if you want to eat at the hot new restaurant, you have to leave your living room…you have to venture out.”   Pinsker continues, saying that, “this is exactly the thinking that more retailers should be experimenting with.”  He goes on to cite Oliver Chen, another retail visionary with Cownen & Company, who asks what consumers want to do, and how retailers can “solve into that experience.”

“Solve into that experience!” it is an important statement, maybe even cutting edge. It changes the basic character of retail.  In light of this discussion, I thought that it would be fun to start a list of activities that might normally require a person to leave home if they wish to participate.  This means, if a retailer has one of these going on, there is a good possibility of meeting up with a living breathing customer. So without further ado let’s try a few:

  • Having one’s hair and nails done
  • Getting a massage
  • Taking a yoga class
  • Eating & Drinking
  • Bowling
  • Testing a fragrance
  • Ice & Roller Skating
  • Playing Sports
  • Swimming
  • Taking a dance or any class
  • Giving a party
  • Attending an entertainment event
  • Traveling and touring
  • Meet ups and networking

As you can see, once started, the list tends to go on and on.  The key to this experiment is to put the activity first, to make it the destination.  This is not always easy, especially for an existing retailer.  I would also think that it can lead to completely unexpected business opportunities.  However a retailer chooses to identify the ways that their particular product line might be merged into any number of experiences is, of course, up to them.  Once done, though, we are here to help implement those “bricks n mortar” changes that are so important to increase traffic, and contribute to the success of a retail businesses.

ReTuna but not a fish: Can recycled stuff impact “nuts & bolts retail?”

Would you like to shop in a mall that sold only recycled merchandise?  Of course you would!  I know that I would.  Well someone in Sweden has built such a place.  It is called ReTuna Återbruksgalleria  (ReTuna Recycling Gallery after the name of the town).  It is billed as the “Worlds First recycling mall,” and I find the idea exciting, especially at a time when US retail businesses are suffering under pressure from online offerings and over priced white elephant real estate, which prompts me, and no doubt many others, to ask, what might be some pros and cons of developing such a project in the US?

 First a bit of qualification is required, meaning I am not about discussing here all of the many and obvious benefits of recycling which has already been done elsewhere and better.  The exception is to note that there is a whole new lexicon of terms to watch for. Words like “up-cycled, re-purposed, waste stream, embodied energy, circular, or closed loop economy,” may all indicate a “cultural shift” towards a public/private business model.  How much of each is a question not much discussed in reference to the Swedish project.  Certainly local public garbage disposal is a big factor in their equation.

MY question here, bringing me back to the a fore mentioned pros and cons, is would it work in a completely private local US market?  On the pro side; it is not difficult to find many retailers already in the recycling business, neither are service companies refurbishing used products unavailable, nor are vacant shopping centers.  Also, it may be that this market is more insulated from online competition than mainstream resellers.  Certainly, unrepeatable recycled merchandise appeals on many levels to wide and varied market.  It would therefore appear that potentially successful tenants already exist, should some astute real estate owner decide to advance such a project.

Of course the con side of the discussion involves all of the business planning and costs involved in launching such a project.  Further, and perhaps the most difficult hurdle to overcome, involves forcing a shift in the current “Thrift Store” perception assigned to anything not quite new.  It is were we, as architects and store designers, can greatly impact the success of a project, first by understanding and even participating in a clients marketing plan, and then by delivering an exciting and cohesive renovation design to actualize it.  It is what we do!

Speak with a team member on your next project.