Posts Tagged ‘store design’

Ahrendts’ luxury background shapes Apple store changes

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015
As a student of Retail having designed stores for over 30 years I look to Apple for the ground breaking ideas. Usually I am quick to draw an opinion based on my experience if the story and concept makes good business sense.
I applaud Apple to go into test mode. We all are familiar that most of Apples innovative ideas were met with sceptisism by many when they were first introduced, only to have to eat “crow” once the sales figures came in.
This test may not be about sales figures but yet another great item to experience and draw in curiosity seekers. I am not sure that the Apple formula of $5000 per foot will be met with this product having a 2.5 turn ratio. I would guess that space is a commodity and whatever item will be consolidating to make room for this item will not suffer as a result of the move.
I do find it interesting that Ron Johnson who had a great success record with Target and brought that knowledge onto Apple moved on to a soft goods JCP. His tenure was short and his concept was actually innovative but did not fit the JCP financial position, and put vendors in an awkward position. I was intimately involved with this concept through vendor participation and was not surprised when the concept could not be executed. One could conclude that when you go from hardwoods to softwoods the playing field is way different.
Now what happens when Softwoods Burberry goes to Electronic hard goods? Are we going to see a disappointing results? Time will tell, but my bet is that Apple has the ability to fine tune any dilemma or opportunity as Sam Walton would position a challenge.
I look forward to the test roll out and progress because Apple is one of the few companies willing to try, willing to fail, and willing to get right back on the horse and continue to look for opportunities.
Apple Executive Seeks a Touch of Chic at Retail Stores – The New York Times
Apple Executive Seeks a Touch of Chic at Retail Stores - The New York Times

Rhinebeck Department Turns to Jerry Birnbach & Assoc for Design effort

Monday, December 7th, 2015
Historic Rhinebeck Dept Store

Historic Rhinebeck Dept Store

Rhinebeck Department Store has selected Jerry Birnbach & Associates the retail design firm to renovate this landmark building.
“It is a great opportunity to work on a project with such integrity and a client with an impressive understanding for retail,” per Jerry Birnbach.
Rhinebeck Department store located in the quaint town in the foothills of the Catskills continues the retail tradition that was started with the former Hudson Valley Store 1946.
We are committed to keeping our values as traditional as our
merchandise selection of Authentic Country Classics.
The design challenge is to preserve the spirit of a traditional shopping experience while designing a relevant solution for a high
demographic customer in todays world.

design:retail magazine simply the best

Monday, November 2nd, 2015
Announced 11-1-15 design:retail selected best magazine in retail industry
design:retail, simply the best was not simple to achieve. Before the internet the only source for retail updates and suppliers came through three to four magazines catering to the industry.
It was critical to subscribe to these journals in order to remain current. Today times have changed and design:retail remained ahead of curve by keeping up with relevant ways to communicate with the retail industry. As a contributing editor in this magazines former life I appreciated and still do the amount of work required to get the story right and offer productive insight. Congratulations on your recent accomplishment and wish you continued success.

The Benefits of a Store Audit

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

111It is common practice for all of us to visit a doctor once a year to validate how we feel, any new issues to concern ourselves with and should something suspicious appear, that it is investigated.
Retail is no different but all too often the retailer is concerned about the product cost and sell pricing and spends little time looking at the store through a customers eye.
The practice of Retail Audit goes beyond the product only. America loves the words: new, just arrived, special, updated, and essential. When the store takes on the spirit of these words you provide change and interest to the customers shopping experience. Beyond the words are the actions you take. Product change over time and a display that properly showed the item a year ago may need an adjustment to accommodate the update version of that item. If you allow time to pass without addressing this issue you wind up with a square trying to fit a round hole.
For the bottom line the yearly audit should review the lighting and determine if an investment into new LED efficient lighting will over time pay itself back with energy savings on your monthly bill. Electric is often one of the biggest monthly line numbers in your expenses and a reduction in cost equates to an increase of profit.
In conclusion, retailers you owe it to your store to provide a yearly physical to insure it is healthy, you remain wealth and wise.

For Bloomingdale’s, Container Store Or Gap – Service Still Makes The Difference

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Although my expertise is in designing stores, I could not agree more with Mr. Loeb regarding service. There are so many factors that come into play today as a result of technology, which has created parity. Competitive price checks, availability, brand have become a constant among several retailers serving the many sectors of demographics.
The shopping experience, which is spearheaded by service, could be the biggest single factor that allows one retailer to survive while others continue to close their doors.
I am very sensitive to service and find that the big box retailers have a much more difficult time providing quality associates that customers can rally around. My guess is salary plays a part of this low standard of service. This service area of opportunity allows the mom pop retailer a way that the can out perform the big box retailer.
We all know good service when we see it and unfortunately the retailer is starving to cultivate this caliber of staff member so they are forced to promote the good associates to a higher position. This promotion often leads to creating a hole where the store meets the customer, with the end result of losing customers due to poor service.
As soon as the retailer put more time and priority into labor training and selection, the bottom line will improve itself through happy customers. Needless to say it is all about the product, but when product no longer plays the key role in securing customer loyalty, service is the next factor to drive the business.

Department Stores are heading in the wrong direction.

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

This Outlet strategy goes against the main reasons for the department stores success and preserving loyal base customers. In addition, you have the issues at the outlet level, lower paid service associates, vanilla store design and presentation, more chance for negative shopping experience due to budget factors and you have lowered the core department store business as a result of guilty through association. Does it make sense to give your establish customer a reason to not shop your Department store and go to another location to shop. Retailers strive for multiple sales, and this approach will not work to that initiative.

What is the right strategy? Allocate an area with the core department store which takes the product residue, the off season items and create a permanent section within the store that would simulate the off price store concept. Why? Because is brings a new customer in, and perhaps over time that price driven customer becomes a trade up customer, which improves the quality of shopper within the department store. Off price retailing is basically depending on price to drive the business. Customers accept items that are not in their size, out dated fashion, a basic shopping experience and that works for that customer. But the department store is walking faster at an outlet level just to stay in place. Department stores are do not represent the numbers that a TJX and Marshals, Ross Stores provide product vendors, who are stuck with product. Having been involved intimately with licensing of brands, believe me when I say, the surplus, first dibs on good product goes to the biggest retailer. Prestige, which department stores represent, does not factor in obtaining the best of the worst. So department stores force to buy into their new outlet stores because space allocation requires they fill up the store to give a sense of being in business, must depend on the department store assortment sale items to be directed to the outlet. The cost of the transfer, probably gets written off on the department store and not into the cost of goods for the outlet store, thus presenting a false vision of success.
You cannot be all things to all customers, you have to live by the sword and die by the sword because this alternative outlet solution will be working against the odds due to the competition who invented the concept.

Lastly, we all have made the observation when shopping an outlet store similar to the high profile Gap retailer, that the product found in the Gap store, never saw the light of day in that company store. People now believed that most of the off price product was really a ploy that its origin was a company store, but the reality is it was outlet store bound from the purchase order inception. Customers caught on fast which watered down the credibility of the outlet concept from great product at great prices, to good prices only.