WHAT MAKES A HIGH-PERFORMING RETAIL ENVIRONMENT?
RIPPLE founder and managing director David Wolfenden highlights how improving the physical environment can significantly boost your retail business, brand image, customer experience and sales.
For most retailers, the prospect of improving, changing or re-imagining the physical environment is an exciting one amongst the complexities of operating a modern business. Changing the look, feel and function of your space involves many factors which can achieve a step change and increase market share and bottom line.
Creating a vision for the future state of a retail environment is a fascinating subject and a key part of a successful business model. It influences your customers’ experience of your business, your staff’s ability to service their needs, your image, brand values, communication, product and range offering. In a nutshell, your environment impacts your business’s prospects, market positioning, resilience and profitability.
To begin, let’s consider what the starting point is in creating a satisfying, well-designed physical retail environment. You may have an idea of what you want to achieve - but where you start depends on where you are currently. To begin to scope a brief there needs to be an understanding of the current state; where your business sits in the market, how it is perceived, how up-to-date it is and whether it clearly differentiates itself from competitors etc? How do your aspirations for the physical environment fit with your business's strategy and objectives? Do you want to increase market share, product offer or services?
So, let’s consider these factors:
These are just some of the key headlines to develop your design brief, a formula to convey your business’s DNA and shape its future. Once you have a better understanding of what you want to achieve, you can then focus on aesthetics and operational efficiency.
I believe a good starting point is to consider what you ultimately want your customers to experience and how that will influence prospects. If significantly changing this is the essence of your business mission, it drives a complex series of planning, processes and interactions to get the right product in the right place at the right time - and to maintain this. After all, what happens for customers from arriving to leaving your premises will influence their loyalty, what they spend, and whether they are or become life-long advocates.
Take great care about the appearance and arrangement of products as it can make a powerful contribution to your brand. What distinguishes the most-admired retailers is the sensation that someone is controlling the environment to make shopping a more agreeable experience. It’s about having a place for everything and everything in its place. The mission should be for the customer’s journey to be intuitive and pleasurable, every time.
Improving the design of your space and environment should enhance your customers’ experience, increase loyalty, footfall, transaction values and the future success of your business. Here are some key factors:
In summary, there is no single magic formula to creating a highly-effective retail environment because your business is unique. Ground-breaking design and solutions must be formed around individual and specific business criteria.
Ripple Group has more than 35 years of success with some of the world’s leading brands and retailers; providing highly creative designs and thoughtfully manufactured solutions, produced by an expert team with a broad spectrum of skills.
Specialising in bespoke retail interiors and display solutions from brief to completion, Ripple provides consultancy and a creative and technical design service which sets it apart. This is backed up with a comprehensive manufacturing facility all under one roof, providing end to end service with control over every stage, and the cost benefit of their furniture, fixtures and fittings coming directly from their own factory. The Ripple mission is to drive the performance of retail space, working across sectors including fashion, grocery, sport and leisure, entertainment, cookware, health and beauty, DIY and merchanting, department stores, home décor, electricals and technology.
Ripple work with leading brands and retailers including Akzo Nobel and Dulux Decorating Centres, Trespass, Majestic Wine, B&Q, Cheshire Mouldings, Boots, Trespass, Marshalls, Norman Piette, B&M and Energizer. Ripple’s services include research and development; creative and technical design, manufacturing including joinery, metalwork, solid surface, plastics, painting and powder-coating and supported by project management, installation, storage and delivery.
Ripple primarily focuses on retail environments and point of purchase display, but extends the offer to showrooms, theme parks, visitor centres and museum projects.
Ripple works across the UK and Europe and is part of Ripple Group, run by managing director David Wolfenden. Our design offices and manufacturing base are in Oldham, Greater Manchester.
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