Latest trends in store space repurposing
Driven by new technologies and the rise in online shopping, and exacerbated by the impact of the pandemic, retail brands are having to adapt to constant change. With fewer customers on the high street, companies have been quick to reconsider how best to use existing floor space in today’s climate. Here, we examine the key trends in shop space repurposing that have emerged since 2020.
The experience-led store
While the growth in internet retail has seen many businesses move to online-first strategies, customers still crave in-store experiences. Indeed, many brands that started out as online-only, such as Amazon, Missguided, Netflix, TikTok and Made.com, have now begun to open physical stores. However, in order to attract today’s experience-led shoppers, retail spaces have to be reimagined and repurposed.
One key trend is ‘retailtainment’, also known as ‘entertailing’, where stores offer customers a combined shopping and entertainment experience. While the concept is nothing new, department stores, supermarkets and brands like Ikea and Waterstones have been serving up refreshments to customers for years, today’s brands are offering a much wider and more modern range of in-store experiences with a mix of entertainment, dining, music and shopping under one roof.
Customers visiting the Vans store, for example, can watch a movie, enjoy live music, skate on an indoor ramp and, of course, buy their favourite Vans’ products.
All items are bought via an app that uses Bluetooth to know where the customer is standing in the store and which products their phones are pointing to . Shoppers can even use augmented reality to try on clothing.
A multi-functional space, the retail area is completely staff free, with employees working in an upstairs command centre that monitors the store and prepares items for collection or dispatch.
Local distribution and fulfilment centres
With a growing number of brands now operating both online and physical stores, there is increasing demand for click and collect services. This has allowed companies to repurpose underused and underperforming floor space for local distribution and fulfilment centres.
Click and collect not only provides a better customer experience for online shoppers; it also brings those shoppers into the physical store where additional purchases are often made.
With the considerable number of retail vacancies in town and city centres, many commercial property companies are repurposing retail floor space into accommodation.
According to Savills, the upper levels of large stores offer the most advantageous and straightforward opportunities for redevelopment. From luxury apartments to student accommodation, there is a wide range of options that businesses can consider.
The challenges of repurposing
Retailers and commercial property companies wishing to repurpose floor space face a number of challenges. Today’s redevelopment projects need to be adaptable for future change, sustainable, cost-efficient and meet current regulations. Ultimately, of course, they need to provide brands with the opportunity to evolve their offering, attract more customers and keep them returning.
Achieving a transformation programme that keeps pace with shifts in consumer behaviour and capitalises on opportunities, requires not only major infrastructure changes but also the adoption of the latest technology.
At Sigma, our team work closely with clients to identify opportunities that add value to their business and our Repurposing Projects cover all aspects of development from planning through to the management and implementation of the project. Our project managers keep costs down and manage supplier lead times and equipment procurement, while delivering the best efficiencies and meeting agreed reporting timelines and review periods.
Experiential Retail - The saviour of instores?
Something unusual is happening on the high street.
Despite the rise of online shopping and the firestorm of the pandemic affecting many traditional bricks and mortar stores, green shoots are appearing. Not only are existing outlets reinventing themselves; we are now seeing growing numbers of previously online-only brands opening physical stores.
Behind this evolving retail renaissance is in-store experience – but what exactly is an in-store experience and how easy is it to implement?
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