A Shifting Tenant Mix and All-Encompassing Retail Experiences
Having experiential elements that set a destination apart and establish a connection is key to capturing the attention of consumers and is what will keep them coming back to physical retail space for the long term.
This can be achieved by a diverse, complementary mix of tenants, programmed common areas and pop-up experiences, and incorporating experiential retail alongside traditional through unique multi-use tenants.
The goal is to oﬀer experiences beyond browsing that are not something that consumers can receive online.
For example, we are currently working on a sportsman’s club in Colorado adjacent to traditional retail that will provide visitors with a one-of-a-kind experience offering 15 shooting lanes, a virtual shooting range, private gunsmith, a full-service lounge featuring a full bar and kitchen, a walk-up coffee bar, and over 3,000 square feet of retail.
By positioning locations like these within larger shopping centers, this creates a competitive edge against other shopping when it comes to getting people out of their homes to visit a physical space.
Developers are also recognizing opportunities to transform scaled-down big box stores to hybrid uses, where the front half of a location remains retail, and the back becomes a gym, public storage or a food hall dining experience.
There is a lot to be learned in retail when we study different types of environments such as theme parks and sporting centers. Understanding these models and how they draw people in by combining food, merchandise, entertainment, and experience can help create new innovative retail ideas.
Combining In-Store Shopping with Distribution Space
Due in part to dependency on e-commerce that has been accelerated and intensified by COVID-19, more retailers are opting to repurpose space to accommodate having online order fulfillment centers in stores.
For example, we recently designed the interior of a Sprouts grocery store to facilitate “click and collect,” whereby shoppers purchase groceries online and pick them up in store themselves or utilize a delivery service. The designated room for this service is equipped with refrigerators for perishable food and heaters for prepared food, where shoppers and delivery services can collect orders quickly and easily.
Additionally, as shipping costs continue to increase, so does the cost of delivering goods to customers’ homes. Many retailers are finding it is less expensive to ship items from their stores, because these are located closer to where people live.
By designing retail stores to seamlessly incorporate more of this warehouse and distribution space, it can reduce shipping costs, provide a competitive advantage against other stores that may not provide the same services, and create a faster delivery process that increases customer satisfaction.
Having this distribution space can also enable smaller or more specialized retailers to compete with the bigger companies by offering increased shipping options and quicker delivery.
Inspiration is All Around Us
As retail continues to shift and evolve, it is important to look at all types of business models, how they work, and how they draw people in – as well as how design can be used to create elevated, seamless experiences in line with today’s lifestyles.
By observing a variety of different environments and how people interact and shop in them, one can continue to understand the retail landscape and how to best meet the needs of consumers. Having a welcoming environment, unique experiences, and incorporating distribution space into physical stores are becoming essential to retail success and will be increasingly important in capturing the long-term attention of consumers.