Retail strategy store development: Shop front

Toolbox Revisited
Within a succesfull branding process, a clear basic idea and the uniqueness of the products offered are not enough. The result should also be attractive in its elaboration. The quality of the translation of the basic principles into the store image is therefore an extremely important succes factor. In order to carry out this process in the best and most complete way possible
Jos de Vries The Retail Company has developed a practical toolbox. This toolbox contains all the tools to create a complete and distinctive store concept. Using this toolbox, you will avoid making random decisions about the store´s image.
They will always be rooted in the basis principles of the formula.
The various parts included in the toolbox are:
Tool 1. Store lay-out
Tool 2: Store design
Tool 3: In-store graphics
Tool 4: Visual Merchandising
Tool 5: Shop front Design

Tool 5: The Shop Front

Simultaneously with the store´s floor plan and the store design concept, you should decide on the exterior of the store: the shop front concept.

These three aspects, layout, store design and shop front concept cannot really be separated. To approach the concept in the right way, the store´s exterior should be a refelection of what is going on inside the building.

In addition, the shop front and the building´s contours create the context for the situation inside the store. Ideally the exteriour is transformed, via a barely perceptible transition zone, into the interior layout concept. Finally, given the right approach, the emotionals aspects of the style such as shapes, materials and colours are closely connected with functional aspects such as accessibility, transparency and daylight.
During the development of the store, another important component of the shop front strategy is the advertising, which often causes heated discussions. If approached in the wrong way, therefore, the development of the shop front can be the source of much conflict.

The architect responsable for the development of the building plays an important role in this respect. It is not uncommon for an architect to tend to think more about the design than about what it means for the building´s environment. Depending on the architectural vision, the architect wants the building´s function in its environment to be clear. The building should adjust to, or possibly indeed distinguish itself from the existing buildings. However, from the point of view of the store designer, we are rather seeking to insert the uniform familiarity of the concept into the location and to convey the store concept via the shop front.
The second problem, and often the subject of heated discussions, is the openness and the transparency of the building. An architect often aims for an extrovert set-up of his building, whereby the transparency and the dynamics of shop front surfaces, in combination with windows, admitting daylight, are an important part of the architectural design.

The shopkeeper, on the other hand wants the store to be as closed as possible in order to present his goods, and little daylight in order to be able to use his own lighting. And, finally he wants the loccation of his shop front advertisements to be as dominant as possible.
A complicating factor here is that often, when the building is under construction, the tenant or the store formula are not yet known, making it impossible to conduct consultations at an early stage. Good shopping centre architects have no problem with this. Based on their experience they are well able to include general criteria in their building that enable the space to be fitted in and made maximum use of as a store.
However, this requires expertise and empathic skills. Empathy and knowledge of what is important for setting up a store formula.
This is because (and one is not always fully aware of this when a shop building is being developed being able to operate the formulas at the store´s location determines the joint success in the end. A shop location where the two aspects – architectural quality or flexibility in the interests of the tenant – are out of balance will never enjoy long-term success.

This chapter is part of the Book "Let me tell you a store" Please contact Jos de Vries The Retail Company or for further information.
Since many years Jos de Vries The Retail Company is a well-known organisation in the retail business. We are specialised in analysing, designing and realysing shop concepts all over Europe. We know for a fact that the successful presentation of shops and products can not only bring about a positive image but also achieve above-average successes.

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