Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009 - (Page 38)

S T O RE DE S IG N The questions retailers ask ou think your customers ask a lot of questions? Try being in the retail design business.Whether it’s just a fresh coat of paint or a complete renovation from top to bottom, the decision to change your store’s look can be one of the most exciting — or heart-stopping — decisions you’ll ever make as a retailer, and the people in the store design business know their clients ask many questions because a lot is riding on the results.We asked some creative types at a few of the top retail design firms in Canada about the questions they most often get from retailers. Here’s what they had to say. And remember: if you’re looking for a new face for your retail space, or any other service to help build your business, a great place to start is RCC’s official Online Suppliers’ Guide at Y “How do I know when the time is right to update my store’s image, and what are some of the reasons why other stores hire a design firm?” If a retailer is asking us this, chances are the time is right now. Retailers should update their store’s image at least every five years; in reality, very few do. Here at Storeimage, we’ve worked with a number of major North American retailers who have recently updated their images for a number of reasons: P H OTO C O U R T E SY O F S TO R E I M AG E Changing your brand, like what Metro is currently doing by converting its Ontario A&P, Dominion, Loeb, Barn and Ultra grocery banners, is a monumental undertaking. Metro’s refreshed stores are beautiful and a big hit with shoppers, and their stock prices have soared in spite of the economic downturn. Consumers are more time-stressed than ever and prefer to shop where they can quickly find the products they need. We are working with a number of retailers who are using focus groups to develop more intuitive product adjacencies and improved way-finding signage to make the shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable. Retail is fiercely competitive and no less so in the pharmacy space. Traditional drugstores have become much larger and more sophisticated in recent years, and they need to differentiate themselves from the big box and grocery pharmacies. The most successful national players have invested in upgrading their cosmetics fixtures and décor to attract and retain customers in this high-margin category. In our current economic reality, retailers are looking to get the most out of every dollar in their tightened budgets. Many are cutting traditional advertising expenditures in favour of creating a more compelling retail environment, and with good reason — studies have shown that up to 70% of buying decisions are made in-store, so investing in a great store interior continues to be a wise investment. Sometimes, a fresh face can be part of a larger plan for a business’s growth. The team behind Sangster’s Health Centres knew they were due for a change and wanted a natural, fresh, clean look that would support their franchise growth plans.We worked with them to develop a “store in a box” package that is perfect for new stores franchises as well as existing store upgrades. Finally, environmentally friendly stores have great potential to attract consumer loyalty, and many retailers we deal with are interested in upgrading their stores to include green materials and systems. We are especially seeing an increased demand for information on recycled or recyclable material options, energy-efficient lighting systems and support to obtain green certifications. Herb Lewington is Vice-President, Sales, Marketing and Creative for Storeimage in Brantford, Ont. “How does a design firm work with a retailer to ensure the firm has a good handle on the vision the retailer is trying to achieve? Do you find that most retailers give you carte blanche, or is there more of a give-and-take of ideas between the client and the designer?” Parameters are good things — no, they are great things. They provoke creativity rather than stifle it. To sell a client’s product or service effectively, it’s essential to understand parameters like: Who are the existing customers? Who are potential customers? How do they behave? What are the core values of the business? Fully understanding a client and their customer base is the first step in designing for them. Another name for this process is Design Thinking and it has become increasingly recognized as integral to building success- 3 8 | C A N A D I A N R E TA I L E R | M AY/J U N E 2 0 0 9 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Come Together
Where Green Never Goes Out of Style
Practising What They Preach
When Times are Tough
How the West was Wowed
In Pursuit of a Well-Dressed West
Sporting a Bold New Look
Bigger and Better
Back to the Future
Revved for Success
The Questions Retailers Ask
Signs of the Times
Advertisers' Index
You Asked Us

Canadian Retailer - May/June 2009