REAL ESTATE

Five in-store amenities helping to drive traffic and engagement

BY Marianne Wilson

Retailers looking to bring customers in the door need to upgrade the shopping experience with added amenities.

That's according to JLL, whose new report examines how brick-and-mortar retailers can deliver in-store experiences and brand loyalty through added amenities. The report, JLL’s Retail Amenities Guide, notes that today's shoppers have countless options when it comes to where they can buy, leaving retailers with fewer opportunities to create brand converts.

“Surprisingly, today’s digital channels have actually heightened the need for physical stores, but generic experiences and design elements won’t engage or fly with today’s customers.” said Vicki Eickelberger, managing director of Big Red Rooster, a JLL company.

JLL has identified the following five elements as increasing foot traffic:

1. Hospitality in store: Luxury brands are known to offer amenities, including VIP spaces, private fitting rooms and lounge areas in their flagship stores. Those perks are meant to entice and reward their best customers. In-store restaurants, cafes, coffee bars and VIP rooms all add to the high-touch hospitality service. lululemon’s New York City flagship store offers a variety of communal spaces as well as an in-store kitchen and dedicated space for fitness classes.

2. Bringing the playing field to shoppers: Retailers are designing their stores with areas or zones that are highly interactive and immersive, allowing consumers to test products and become fully engaged in vivid new experiences. Sophisticated environments are carefully crafted so consumers can experience products in the context of the moment. Under Armour’s "brand house" concept in Chicago utilizes authentic materials to bring the track, field or court in store, and offers designated zones to try on and test shoes.

3. Food for thought: One of the most sought after amenities in shopping centers is an abundance of dining options. By 2025, as much as 20% of shopping center gross leasable area is expected to be occupied by food and beverage concepts, according to JLL's report on food and beverage commissioned by ICSC.

4. Elements of heritage: A brand’s story over time is a major component of why a brand is what it is today. Some retailers now include pieces of a brand’s history as a homage to the past and an invitation into the retailer’s culture. This could come in the form of museum-like displays of a brand’s early products or origins, or an iconic piece of merchandise the brand prides itself on. These elements invite guests into the retailer’s culture and build a canvas for a retailer to feature its heritage. For instance, the Alexander McQueen store in New York includes many signature elements, including moldings that invoke the seams on the designer's iconic heritage tailored jacket.

5. Clean and contemporary – design that is: Design is, not surprisingly, one of the most essential elements of a store’s success. Today, retailers are blending unique styles in clean cut and contemporary fashions for a visually satisfying brand. Exposed brick, fine marble, rugged wood, velvety displays, raw concrete, and exquisite rugs, are all being incorporated to display a contemporary and inviting space for consumers to spend time in.

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