Commercial Architecture August 2017 - 11
Aside from store layout, or perhaps in tandem with it, the design philosophy driving food retailing has evolved.
Tom Henken of api(+) noted that, "savvy retailers are strategic about
their brand and understand that it is so much more than a logo and tagline. Your brand is the entire set of experiences that shape guests' opinions and motivate loyalty. These retailers are positioning their environments with a deep understanding of the psychographic DNA of their
core customer. The days of 'all things to all people' retail design are
numbered. Focused design solutions are necessary for specialty stores.
Supermarkets are beginning to follow suit, understanding that they need
to have a similar but broader approach to their store design. Differentiation in the marketplace is critical when competition is as fierce as it is
today. A brand-strategy-based store design team will articulate and emphasize your strongest points of difference to help you compete."
Deborah English has seen changes as well. "Throughout our 20 years
of food retail design we have seen a major shift from the 'get them in/get
them out fast' approach of the traditional supermarket philosophy toward the inclusion of experiential spaces within the market. Grocery
stores have now become places for social gratification and engagement.
We design a wide range of food retail spaces that offer boutique experiences within larger supermarkets. Restaurants, bars, pop-ups, coffee
shops, and cafés become distinct destinations within the grocery store.
These boutique environments defy the stereotype of what's included in
a traditional supermarket by integrating social and hospitality elements,"
The Soriana Miyana hypermarket in Mexico is a large-format superstore designed by D L English Design to be
experiential, while at the same time convenient, practical, and easy to shop. Photo: Courtesy D L English Design
"The key is specialization and understanding your consumer," ac-
Hyper Shopping Made
Convenient And Practical
cording to ms consultants' Jason Longbrake. "The specialization comes
in once you dive past the fundamentals of a successful grocery store.
What is the market? Urban, suburban, rural? Large ethnic or cultural
population groups? What are your demographics?" he asked.
"Stores must be designed to be able to quickly evolve. Static elements
like underground refrigeration chases and drop ceilings are a thing of the
past. Open ceilings are now the norm, allowing much quicker reworking
of refrigeration lines, electric, and signage," he said.
he challenge with the Soriana Miyana hypermarket in Mexico was to make a large-format superstore
experiential, with a sense of discovery and surprise, while at the same time appearing convenient,
John Youger concedes there will be differences of opinion about fo-
practical, and easy to shop. D L English Design, Pasadena, CA, started by creating two distinct entrances.
cus. "The default answer will typically start with 'experience,' but I think
Architectural elements, such as lighting, ceiling heights, flooring, and landmarks, mark the beginning of
you have to dig a little deeper, and I personally believe this would be to
the shopping experience at each entrance. The first entrance is focused on fresh-food offerings, where
focus on trips. What are the trips that you want to win? Couples night
customers are welcomed by the floral, juicing, and produce departments strategically located adjacent
out? Gluten-free food preferences? Once you determine this, you can
to the food hall. The second entrance focuses upon general merchandise, where customers are greeted
start to focus on the experience you want to create that brings all of those
by the electronics department adjacent to the pharmacy/optic section and beauty studio. The activation
together," he said.
of both entrances was key to the success of the layout, which connects with a big loop through to the
back of the store.
MORE THAN A PLACE TO BUY FOOD
Adjacencies were carefully planned throughout the store to ease the transitions between departments
Many grocery shoppers are looking for more than just packaged edibles.
and activate the general-merchandise portion of the store. For example, a grill center was created to
"Grocerant is a term the industry is using to describe the mash-up of
transition between the meat department and general merchandise in the back. The baby, sports, and
grocery stores and restaurants," according the Henken. "Many stores are
children's apparel departments are clustered together, and hardware and men's apparel are in close
adding restaurants as a direct response to consumer's evolved lifestyles in
visual proximity to one another.
our multi-channel economy. Grocers are strategically expanding beyond
The use of ceilings and soffits at different heights, with a variety of lighting, is a common element
traditional products and services to differentiate products and services
in D L English's projects that helps increase or decrease the scale of venues within the overall space,
from their competition. Signature hero products and services are being
depending on the size and relevance of the department. For instance, in Soriana Miyana, the soffit at
emphasized throughout the shopping occasion," he said.
kosher meats is taller than the one over the main meat department. The soffit at entertainment/electronics
Jason Longbrake agreed: "Grocery stores have become more than just
is lower and more intimate. A series of lit structures creates a distinct sense of space over the beauty
a place to stock up on food for the week. Along with in-store dining and
department. Pharmacy/optics and the over-the-counter departments also live under the same lower soffit
entertainment, grocers partner with retail banks, coffee shops, pharma-
to create a more intimate and private feeling for customers.
cies, and other conveniences. These additional offerings give consumers
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