This series on the real world ROI of store design concludes with what I see as probably the least talked about aspect of store design: the value of design integrity in rollout. You can click here to read part 1, on branding, and here to read part 2, on space planning and design.
I'm a brand developer and store designer, but that doesn't mean I wash my hands of a project the moment it goes into execution. That would be irresponsible. My real goal behind your store design is to improve your long-term sales and not waste your money as a retailer, so I am compelled to advise that great store design, poorly executed is a waste. Retail design isn't meant to be a thought experiment; it's a tool used to get results, plain and simple. I think of at it as a simple graph with an X axis for Design Quality and a Y axis for Execution Quality. Look:
Investing in a project that lands squarely in the positive Design Quality and positive Execution Quality quadrant is going to be a sound investment. The potential behind the design will be realized and that will play out in the shopper’s experience in your store. Elements of the space that look appealing from a distance will look equally appealing up close, will impress the shopper in action, and will result in a positive versus cruddy experience.
Note that great design, as shown, is all about the details. It is incumbent on the designer to understand the quality level necessary to pull off a detail in the real world and deliver a great affect at a reasonable price. A great designer should be thinking ROI, and how to get it, from the onset of concept development.
Investing in Design Quality and allowing the execution to be sub-par amounts to throwing good money away. “I want an Audi but with an Oldsmobile engine and a $99 paint job,” said nobody ever, because that would be stupid. It would be a waste of money not only on the beautiful design but on the rest of it as well. Sure, you’d pay less, but if you wanted a cruddy car, you’d just buy a cruddy one in the first place.
And then obviously the ROI of not investing in either design or execution is nil because there is no investment to begin with. DIY retail design is not gaining in popularity for a reason. And beautifully executing a store without fully considering what you’re doing is a recipe for a pretty space that might not sell much at all.
You can’t make Julia Child’s cheese soufflé with Velveeta and expect it to turn out delicious. It won’t.
That’s not to say that every countertop should be Carrara marble and every tile custom. Value-engineering becomes incredibly important when you’re rolling a design out across multiple locations. But value-engineering isn’t the same as nickel and diming. VE happens on the front end, so you know you’ll be getting the most bang for your buck before you ever start sourcing materials and building. Nickel and diming is this tempting thing that comes later, when someone holding the purse strings (or on the purse string committee – a horrible idea) - realizes Velveeta tastes something like cheese.
Now, this has all been about the physical execution of a retail design. But going back to branding and just to be clear, there is another equally (if not more so) important aspect of retail design execution, and that is operations. I tell ALL of my customers that all of our good work is flushed down the toilet if they do not fulfill their customers’ expectations on an operational level: merchandising, assortment, pricing, customer service, etc…. I tell them “we can create a perfect stage setting, but if the play sucks – or the actors are shitty, it all goes down in flames.”
It all goes hand in hand in hand. Branding determines the promise you’re making to your customer. Space planning and design determine how you’re going to deliver on that promise. And execution (physical and operational) determines how the shopper is going to perceive the integrity of that promise to be. Extending your ROI beyond the grand opening means building to last. I don’t know how else to say it.
- Progressive Grocer - April 2018: Store of the Month, Jewel-Osco
- PG Web Extra: Progressive Grocer - April 2018: Store of the Month, Jewel-Osco
- Manifesting Your Brand into a Physical Space: Focusing on the Customer Experience
- How C-Stores Are Stealing Customers from Grocery Stores
- CSP: 25 Great C-Store Designs
- Progressive Grocer - June 2017: Store of the Month, Fairway
- PG Web Extra: Design Secrets of Fairway’s Georgetown Store
- What Are Your C-Store Consistency Challenges? We Want To Know.
- 2017 Liquor Law Changes: How Has Your State Been Affected?
- 2016 Consumer Study: Online, In-Store, and Everything In-Between
- Grocery Business - The Store of the Future
- VMSD - 2016 Look Book
- Shopper Insights Study: Close Look at Fast Food Restaurants
- Décor Reseller - How POP Displays Contribute to a Store's Success
- Progressive Grocer - Design Plus
- Photos From KRS & Kroger's 2015 Cincinnati Shoptalk (ARE)
- VMSD - Mile High Style
- Retail Touchpoints - Special Report
- KRS Expands Creative Team
- Store Brands Magazine - Give Them Reasons to Return
- The New Retail Frontier - Adding Locations Is Just One of Many Options
- 2015 Consumer Study: Evolving Attitudes On When, Where, and How We Shop
- Shopper Insights Study: Close Look at Convenience Stores
- Study: Tapping Into the Value of Farmers Markets
- Convenience Store News - Refueling Center of the Future
- The Bilateral Shopper. We Are Someone Else When We Shop Online.
- VMSD - 2015 Look Book
- KRS Expanding East With Cincinnati Design/Build Office
- Innovating the Box - KRS Speaking at Furniture Today Leadership Conference
- KRS Speaking at SEGD, DC. Solving the Designer's Dilemma
- Retail Leader - 2014 Trends Survey, From Recession to... Who Knows?
- Business Insider - What the Grocery Store of the Future Will Look Like
- KRS Hitting Chicago Like a Produce Truck
- Convenience Store News - Exclusive
- Retail Design Institute - 43rd Annual Int'l Store Design Awards
- Study: Traditional Retail Categories Are Blurring
- CSNews - Store of the Month Green Zebra
- Texas Tradition Meets Whole Foods Attitude in Dallas
- Video Tour - 2013 Retail Design Award Winners
- Chain Store Age - Stores of the Future
- VMSD - 2014 Look Book
- Retail Design Blog - Green Zebra Portland
- CSNews - Store of the Month MyGoods Market Takes Flight
- Happy Holidays From KRS
- Retail Leader - Make Way for the Millennials
- JWT Intelligence - Retail Rebooted
- B of A Small Business - Culture, Fit, and Aptitude
- ROI of Store Design - Space Planning & Design
- Progressive Grocer - 2013 Retail Design Awards
- ROI of Store Design - Branding
- Designing the Future
- C-Store Canada - Design for the Bottom Line
- Viability of Blurring Retail Categories
- Retail Leader - Channel-Blurring, Price-Matching
- DDi - GlobalShop Speaker Sound Bites
- CEO Blog Nation - Should You be a Business Rebel?
- Portland State Panel: Tomorrow's Leaders
- Starbucks Awards KRS Team
- New H.Y. Louie Concept: Fresh St. Market in West Vancouver
- The Register-Guard - Where Craft is King
- The Incredible Shrinking Expansion
- VMSD - The Goods
- Business Insider - Store of the Future
- SoLoMo Webinar - Marketing 2.0 for Retailers
- Entrepreneur - A Sneak Peek at the Store of the Future
- Non-Traditional Retailers Creating Retail Experience
- Understanding Today's Shopper
- Study: Consumer Response to Environment
- Progressive Grocer, ARE, and others cover KRS' Consumer Survey
- Design Lodge - Influence the Customer, Dominate the Market
- Andrew's Chicago Restaurant Picks for IRDC
- Retail Leader - How Much is a Facelift Worth?
- Pizza Today - The Price of a Remodel
- One Step Retail Solutions - Feature
- Travel + Leisure - America's Worst Airports