Retail is tricky, but you can make it work for your store. How? By adapting your space to meet the needs of your customers.
How to Adapt Your Retail Space and Meet Customer Expectations
Start by doing research
First, you need to understand what people are looking for in retail spaces. Once you do that, you can start planning. When researching retail space for sale or rent, it is essential to research the average cost per square foot. What kind of foot traffic can you expect, what are the demographics in the area, and remember you need good parking.
If you want to adapt your retail space to meet customer expectations, there are three key areas you need to think about: product placement, aesthetics, and layout.
Your products will look different in a large format than in an enclosed boutique. But does this mean customers won’t buy them? Not necessarily. When we talk about product placement, we aren’t just about where products sit on shelves or displays. We’re also talking about visibility:
What part of the store do you see first? And then, from there, which other places in the store will draw customers in?
Think about how your new space will affect the overall aesthetic appeal of your store. For example, if you have a small storefront, consider whether you should move some items around to create more visual interest. Or if the front of your store looks like a maze, you should rethink how you present merchandise for sale.
How your store is laid out could dictate its success, including traffic flow, sales volume, and employee productivity. Therefore, before making any significant changes to your layout, ask yourself these questions:
Do I want my guests walking through my store to feel welcome? Will moving around certain products help visitors find their way around? Is my layout intuitive for customers and employees alike?
Do I have enough room for the products I sell? Are they too cramped? Too spread out? Can I add additional seating without feeling overwhelmed?
The Changing Face of Retail – The Next Generation
Retail is changing. It’s not just about the e-commerce revolution or the rise in popularity of “retail therapy” like yoga, pilates, and meditation. The retail industry is fundamentally shifting as consumers become more discerning with what they buy.
Retailers are looking at ways to differentiate themselves from competitors using technology, data, and innovation. Here are some of the trends that will change how we shop:
1. Technology Will Drive Change In How We Shop
Increasing interest in consumer behavior research makes it easier for companies to understand their customers better. This means that retailers can use technology to optimize both online and offline operations. For example, predictive analytics software can detect customer activity patterns so that staff can prepare accordingly before customers arrive.
2. Data-Driven Solutions Lead To Optimized Customer Experiences
Retailers are always looking for new ways to improve the customer journey. New technologies allow retailers to collect real-time data about customer habits across channels, locations, and devices. Data collected during buying can lead to improved services, personalized recommendations, and more efficient processes.
3. Innovation Creates Better Stores That Meet Customers’ Needs
Consumers expect to receive high-value service from retailers. These days, shoppers no longer accept poor experiences because of price alone. Instead, they demand satisfaction, regardless of cost. As such, retailers must offer high-quality goods and services while staying competitive on price.
4. The Future Of Shopping Has Arrived
A new era of shopping is upon us, and it’s not going away. This year, we saw Amazon debut its first-ever brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. (in Seattle, no less), the launch of a new “Amazon Go” convenience store concept – which lets customers shop on their terms by scanning every item they want to buy with an app – as well as the introduction of Amazon’s long-rumored Echo Look smart eyewear device. In 2017, Amazon showed off another glimpse into the future: its plans for drones that could deliver goods right to people’s doors.
5. Physical Retail Space Still Matters
While retailers are adapting to the fast pace of digital commerce, the importance of physical retail space remains unchanged. People still love to browse, try on clothes, and check out the latest gadgets. Even though shoppers don’t physically step foot inside these places anymore, these spaces are still critical components of an organization’s image.
What do today’s consumers want from an in-store shopping experience?
Do they want the convenience of a 24/7 outlet, or do they want to feel that they have more control over their shopping experience by being able to browse and select products at will? The answer is simple – it depends on what the retailer offers compared to its competitors.
Convenience, Control, Choice.
The keywords here are “convenient” and “choice.” For example, if you are in the market for a new T.V., how much time would you like to spend standing in line waiting to be served? I can tell you this – none! You need not wait in lines, you don’t feel rushed, you have your choice of televisions (even if there’s only one model available), and you can sit down and watch the game while the kids play video games in another room. This is an absolute convenience.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a particular brand of clothes hanger, a unique dishwasher, or even a specific kind of car, you may be willing to wait in line and sacrifice some control as some convenience. If you have limited choices but feel these items are essential to you, you’ll probably go ahead and make the trade-off.
Reinventing the retail space using digital technologies
The latest technology is changing how we shop. This article by Steve Smith, senior vice president of sales at PTC, explains how retailers can use this knowledge to their advantage.
The term “retail” conjures up images of a physical world where people must interact with products and services in person. Unfortunately, many shoppers still prefer this model, even though they may be increasingly willing to engage online. For example, the average U.S. household has only two credit cards and spends about $6,000 annually on non-electronics purchases.
In addition, many consumers are now shopping online for the first time and are more likely to make impulse purchases. These trends suggest that the future will see an increase in brick-and-mortar stores, requiring them to rethink and reinvent themselves to remain relevant and competitive.
Retailers should consider what role they wish to play in the evolution of modern retail. They should also consider whether they want to continue to operate as traditional bricks-and-mortar or whether they want to become more like Amazon.com. We believe that retailers who embrace digital technologies can help drive a fundamental shift to a new era of shopping — a future where customers will get exactly what they want when and where they want it.
So, where do retail opportunities lie? The answer: In stores—and online
Retail is a complex business, and it’s changing rapidly. But the core fundamentals are still there, as they have been for decades. And those fundamentals can be summed up in one word: Opportunity.
With that in mind, here are three things you need to know about the future of retail:
Retailers will spend more than $1 trillion on U.S. brick-and-mortar stores this year
That number may seem outlandishly high at first glance, but it represents an increase over last year’s total of roughly $900 billion. Moreover, it includes all retailers, from large chains (including Walmart) to small independent boutiques. Moreover, according to a survey conducted by Coresight Research, nearly half of American households plan to buy something in brick-and-mortar stores this year. Even better news: A growing percentage of consumers also say they intend to buy something online.
Brick-and-mortar retailers will continue to evolve
As you can see, the landscape of retail is shifting dramatically. But the good news is that this change is happening because of opportunity. To succeed in the 21st century, retailers don’t need to fight the tides; they need to swim upstream.
What does that mean? Simply put, it means embracing technology and innovation. Today’s consumers expect retailers to provide them with whatever they desire—when they want it. And if they can’t find it in person, they hope the retailer to make it available to them electronically. So how do retailers meet these expectations? Adopting digital tools and strategies—and leveraging cutting-edge technologies to deliver a superior customer experience.