Ancillary Retail

MAY 2018

Ancillary Retail magazine is the retail industry’s resource for ancillary income markets. Ancillary Retail will provide relevant news, best strategies and practical tips to help developers and retailers grow and sustain successful businesses.

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26 Ancillary Retail | May 2018 On the Process of Good Design Take stock of your merchandise as well as your vision to optimize design. By Thomas Loeff W hat constitutes good design in the retail world? Good design produces a retail en- vironment that best achieves a mer- chant's goals over the lease term, or life of the store. Good design mani- fests itself in as many forms as there are merchants but should always be- gin with a clear vision of the store and the experience of shopping it. Vision Drives Design Store vision, for the sake of this ar- ticle, describes how the merchant sees the retail environment and products offered therein. It's purely qualitative and provides a framework that will help with every critical aspect of store design that must follow: the choice of color palette; store lighting; acoustics and music, if any; finishes for counter- tops; fixtures; flooring; etc. Sophisti- cated retailers with deep pockets may retain an outside agency to help define a store's identity by creating impres- sion boards, but the truth is anyone can find a vision for his or her store us- ing readily available, and inexpensive, tools. One proven meth- od that is simple and instructive is to create a notebook, either digital or physical, that houses images and phrases chosen to express what is in the mind's eye of the merchant. Any content that helps characterize the vision is valu- able. Obvious sources include maga- zine pictures and copy, internet search results, sketches and renderings. Be- low is an example of an inspiration board that helped create the vision for a recently opened candy store. These images show that the designer's vi- sion has strong primary colors to con- note candy staged against a black-and- white backdrop. In addition to images, words and phrases can dramatically improve the clarity of the merchant's store vision. Finding words that help define the store's target audience, their experi- ence during a store visit, and the val- ue inherent in the store's merchandise is a powerful catalyst that promotes good design. Better still, a collection of words and copy that help define the store vision may eventually be devel- oped into collateral for brochures and signage thereby facilitating an import- ant and challenging task. Understanding the Product Line Another potent catalyst for good design is the careful review of the store's product line. This review can take many forms and will yield dra- matically different results depending on the nature of the product line. Mer- chandising techniques for soft goods are completely different from hard goods; soft goods are folded, or hung, whereas hard goods can be stacked, or shelved. Regardless of the merchandise, one good approach is to first identify all of the product categories, and then iden- tify all of the items within each cate- gory. Equally important is the range of packaging that will carry the products found in the store. Merchants who buy from wholesale distributors will probably have to manage a variety of product packaging: different color schemes, materials, shapes, etc. Mer- chants who offer a product line that is unique to their brand most likely en- joy packaging that is uniform and syn- ergistic with the brand's identity. The product line review should attempt to identify relationships be- tween product categories as well as relationships between items within a category: • Do certain items complement each other and result in upselling? • Do certain items conflict with each other, or can one be perceived as a less expensive alternate to another? A thorough review as described here can greatly contribute to good design throughout the rest of the process par- ticularly when it comes to the store layout and design of fixtures. DESIGN An example of an inspiration board that helped create the vision for a recently opened candy store. These images show that the designer's vision has strong primary colors to connote candy staged against a black-and-white backdrop. Thomas Loeff Shopworks, Inc.

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