The store planning and design workshop track at SPECS/ 2008 provided an in-depth look into the industry’s latest design trends, as well as insights on sustainable green lighting and in-store best practices.
George Nauman, principal and chief merchandising officer of Columbus, Ohio-based Chute Gerdeman Retail, and Joel Hostetler, commercial operations manager of MS Consultants, Columbus, Ohio, kicked off the track with “Hot New Retail Concepts From Around the World,” a session that provided an extensive overview of new and innovative retail store designs both in the United States and abroad.
From the sleek and bright-colored Telus Mobility location in Toronto, which features a “hand-set runway” layout that invites customers to try out different wireless-communications products, to REI’s Boulder, Colo., location that brings sustainability to a new level with its three solar strategies (passive solar, solar thermal and solar electrics), attendees learned more about some of the most imaginative designs currently gracing the retail space.
“What makes a retail concept truly hot is its focus on customer perspective,” Nauman said. Both speakers stressed that adding even the slightest touches to cater to the target audience makes all the difference in the world.
Some retailers, however, have created buzz in a big way, such as the new 10022-Shoe concept from Saks Fifth Avenue.
“The company is telling its customers that the department is so big that it needs its own ZIP code, and it’s working,” Nauman said. A purple, iconic three-dimensional shoe sculpture stands out on the floor to draw attention to the new shoe department.
This concept is among those in the marketplace that is effectively using customer interaction as a selling tool through its strategic retail designs, which entice consumers to try on products and actively engage in the merchandise selection, the speakers said.
Other stores highlighted during the presentation included Marni, Tokyo; The World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta; HBO, New York City; BHV Homme, Paris; Ivanka Trump Boutique, New York City; Peter Mark, Dublin, Ireland; Umbra, Toronto; Longchamp, New York City; The Shop at Bluebird, London, and G by Guess, Escondido, Calif.
Signage and Merchandising: