TRENDING STORES: PetSmart debuted a new store concept that puts a big emphasis on pet services. The 7,400-sq.-ft. PetSmart Pet Spa, in Oceanside, N.Y., is decidedly smaller than PetSmart’s typical footprint and features a self-service dog wash, a grooming salon and a coffee bar-lounge area. The overall modern design includes a circular “concierge” desk with a bakery full of dog treats.…Amazon Books plans to open its fourth location, a 7,200-sq.-ft. store in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood. Since debuting last fall in Seattle, Amazon Books has confirmed plans for a store in San Diego, and one in Portland, Ore. … Abercrombie & Fitch will unveil its long-awaited new prototype in early 2017 at Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio. … Department store retailer Belk is giving its Crown & Ivy private-label brand its very own freestanding location. The brand, which Belk launched in 2014, will open a store at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, N.C. … Grandin Road has made the leap to brick-and-mortar, opening a Halloween pop-up in Macy’s Manhattan flagship. The 1,400-sq.-ft. shop is elaborately designed to offer a spooky, immersive experience complete with digital signage animated with spiders and scary animatronic products, which are also available for purchase. An on-site photo booth allows customers to create a fun memento of their visit. … Cole Haan opened a global flagship at the new Westfield World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The store features a series of rooms inspired by a residential layout clad in black, white and gray finishes. The design blends traditional and modern aesthetics together with a large-scale marble mosaic pattern in the front foyer and herringbone wood floors and paneling. With more than half of all purchases expected to be executed on mobile POS, the space doesn’t have a traditional cash wrap. The retailer has partnered with UberRUSH to deliver products purchased from the store to anywhere in New York City. Customers will be able to receive delivery alerts and track their packages in real time.
Company Updates: api(+), Tampa, named Fernando Castillo as the new studio director of its Miami office. Castillo previously worked with Pavlik Design Team, PDT International and ID & Design International in Miami.
Focus on ‘smart’ lighting
While a lot of emphasis is placed on optimizing the front-of-the-house retail experience, improving back-of-the-house operations can also help retailers better meet customers’ evolving expectations — and intelligent lighting systems may be the key to improving those operations.
With the growing smart lighting industry, it’s easier than ever for retailers to gather information about their warehouses and back-of-the-house storerooms by simply updating a system that’s already in place. With an intelligent lighting system, retailers have the ability to gather and analyze data to make changes that will streamline processes and improve customer experience.
Here are three benefits of using intelligent lighting in the back of the house:
Insights into retail operations
Intelligent lighting systems provide retailers with a plethora of information about the products they store. The information is gathered via sensors installed in lighting fixtures, providing unprecedented visibility into the goings-on within a warehouse and allowing facility managers access to nearly unlimited data and analytics, as well as the ability to streamline warehouse processes.
Given the ubiquity of lighting within a warehouse, there can be many sensors gathering data at once, allowing them to collect massive amounts of information. One application of sensor-based data is tracking occupancy that allows sensors within lighting fixtures to collect data on movement of people and assets throughout a warehouse at a granular level.
Additionally, with the help of sensors attached to specific assets within a warehouse, these systems can track where specific items — ladders, pallets of products, forklifts — are at any time, known as “indoor positioning.”
With this data, systems can develop a heat map showing which parts of a warehouse are occupied, or unoccupied, and when, providing valuable insight into traffic patterns. This information equips retailers to make a range of data-based business decisions, from how to heat or cool a facility to how to light it, and even how to manage inventory.
Streamlined business processes and improved employee productivity
With the ability to consider occupancy, time of day and daylight, networked lighting solutions also offer the ability to create a better work environment for employees with higher levels of comfort and, in some cases, personalized settings for each employee. The result is a more engaged, productive workforce.
One way this occurs is via the dim settings offered by intelligent lighting systems, which allows lighting to only occur in occupied sections of a facility and automatically dims that light depending on staff utilization, occupancy or availability of natural light. This is particularly useful for third-shift employees as lights can be set to a level designed to help them stay awake as they work through the night.
Additionally, HVAC systems integrated with lighting platforms allow for more comfortable facility temperatures, and depending on occupancy, time of day or outdoor temperature, ensure a more pleasant environment.
Contributions to the bottom line
In addition to the human-centric benefits offered by intelligent lighting systems, they contribute greatly to a facility’s bottom line, helping to save huge amounts of energy.
Aside from the obvious benefits, including reduced energy costs from more targeted use of HVAC and lighting, benefits like improving employee engagement and productivity make massive contributions to the bottom line by improving return on salaries and allowing more work to get done in a shorter period of time. These systems also allow for facility managers to have a single source of control for lighting-related settings, reducing manual efforts to get lighting settings right, and providing managers the ability to share information across the organization.
This information sharing, coupled with the unprecedented visibility offered by these systems, allows organizations to make smarter decisions when it comes to making upgrades within a warehouse.
The data gathered by these systems can also influence purchasing decisions by providing insight into potential bottlenecks within a warehouse that are slowing workflow. By shedding light on these, managers who may have been considering purchasing a new piece of equipment to keep up with demand may see that they simply need to streamline traffic patterns or adjust routes to see an improvement, allowing them to save company funds while still improving performance.
While front-of-the-house consumers may have the upper hand in terms of data informing their decisions, those managing the back of the house also have a wealth of data at their disposal. With data from intelligent lighting systems, managers can make informed decisions about their warehouses, improving customer experience, streamlining processes and increasing employee productivity.
Kaynam Hedayat is VP of product marketing and management at Digital Lumens.
SPECS 2017 update
Planning is well under way for the 53rd annual SPECS conference, which will be held at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, Fla., March 12–14, 2017. The event is produced by Chain Store Age and is attended by retail and foodservice executives involved in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of stores and restaurants nationwide.
Taking an active role in the planning of the conference is the SPECS Advisory Board, which is comprised of 45 industry executives from leading retail companies and key supplier organizations. The board members are charged with advising and directing the educational program for the 2017 conference, which will feature a packed slate of workshops, roundtables and panel presentations covering a wide range of emerging and evolving issues. The Board members, as industry insiders, are integral to the development of all these components.
Five veteran members were selected as Executive Advisory Board members, charged with team leadership and overall program direction. They include: Sara Craven, Avis Budget Group; Richard Elkins, Firehouse Subs; Craig Hale, HFA; Lisa Smola-Hollo, Ulta Beauty; and Kent Swank, The Home Depot. (Titles are given with listing on page 24.)
The SPECS 2017 Advisory Board met in Chicago in June to start planning next year’s sessions. The group is currently putting the finishing touches on the program.
The SPECS 2017 Advisory Board:
Bob Almond, chairman, NEST
Aaron Ancello, VP regional facilities manager lead, TD Bank
James Beale, managing partner, National Glazing Solutions LLC
Dan Beeman, senior director of construction, architecture & design, The Hertz Corp.
Sonja Berry, COO, Energy Design Service Systems
Dan Bilancia, business development manager, Johnson Controls/York
Jayson Burgess, director of construction, Smashburger
Jennifer Chambers, VersaShield architectural sales manager, Halex Corp.
Sara Craven, corporate design and construction regional director, Avis Budget Group
Dave Crawford, SVP store design and construction, DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
David DiCarlo, Midwest regional director of construction, rue21
Greg DuChane, director, retail-restaurant national accounts, Trane
Richard Elkins, director of construction services, Firehouse Subs
Bridget Farrell, senior manager of architecture and building design, J.C. Penney
Mike Gordon, facilities maintenance manager, Fogo de Chao
Steve Hearon, president, BrandPoint Services
Craig Hale, AIA, CDP, associate, HFA
Al Hellaby, senior project manager, Wegmans Food Markets
Tom Helwig, director of construction, Target
Lisa Smola-Hollo, construction project manager, Ulta Beauty
George Holz, retail design/construction/facility professional
Lisa Johnson, VP, Interstate Signcrafters
Bob Keingstein, president, Boss Facility Services
Lori Koeppe, operations coordinator, The Buckle
Robin Baskin Ladner, VP sales, Global Facility Management & Construction
Sally Lee, market segment manager – retail, Osram Sylvania
Dave Magill, SVP program management, Ferrandino & Son
Steve Miller, senior manager, Major Accounts Group, Bose Professional Systems
Bob Moore, president, Retail Contractors Association
Kevin Nolen, director of retail expansion and facilities, Z Gallerie
Alan Norton, senior manager health/wellness innovations, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Jim Pagano, EVP, Boston Barricade Co.
Randy Pannell, VP construction, Hudson’s Bay Company/Saks Fifth Avenue division
Lisa Ploss, president, ProCoat
Kristen Roodvoets, senior manager retail store planning and development, Alex and Ani
Mike Rose, CEO, Academy Service Group
Eric Russell, director of construction, L Brands/Bath & Body Works
Amy Short, senior interior designer, Ashley HomeStores
Kent Swank, senior director of construction, The Home Depot
Parke Wellman, division VP store environment, Helzberg Diamond Shops
Wendy Whetton, senior facilities project manager, Harbor Freight Tools
Fran Windsor, SVP, legal and new store development, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market
Tracy Scanlan Zaslow, senior director of design and construction, Luxury Brand Holdings
Melissa Zimmerman, director of StoreCare, Walgreens
SPECS has added a new component. Debuting this year is the Ambassadors Club, created to recognize 12 retailers who have made significant contributions to the industry and to SPECS throughout the years. The members of the Ambassadors Club will provide insights and guidance on overall programming for SPECS 2017, as well as serve as ambassadors to the event and participate in conference marketing efforts. Here are the inaugural members:
Sarah Amundsen, senior director of store design, Target
Robert Baek, VP business development and real estate, PizzaRev
Bob Bedard, construction manager, retail stores, Cole Haan
Bruce F. Brock, director of real estate, Hungry Howie’s Pizza & Subs
Bill Chaff, VP real estate and construction, Bd’s Mongolian Grill/Flat Top Grill
Amy Ciolek, AIA, director of store planning, Walgreens
Dan Garneau, site development manager, Kum & Go
Eric Johnson, director of store planning and efficiency, Brookshire Bros.
Erin Johnson, strategic sourcing manager, Gold’s Gym
Doug Pellock, VP construction and purchasing, The Marcus Corp.
David Shotwell, director of construction, Bojangle’s Famous Chicken ’n Biscuits
Renee Tobin, manager of procurement, Brookdale Senior Living