By Elizabeth Ward, head of sales and marketing at Sigma
The continued rise of online retail and changes in the ways shoppers behave are having a transformational impact on the high street. To meet growing consumer expectations and stay competitive, brands are pushing the boat out to provide unique retail experiences both in-store and online. In doing so, floor spaces across the UK are being actively regenerated to deliver new and better experiences for customers.
A retail renaissance
Despite the convenience and popularity of online retail, on its own, it does not satisfy all the needs of today’s consumers: a fact clearly evidenced by the growing number of once internet-only brands, Amazon, Missguided, Netflix, TikTok and Made.com, et al, that are now making their debut in bricks and mortar.
As a result, shopping centres, retail parks, factory outlets and high street stores with the agility to adapt to changing consumer behaviour can remain profitable if they deliver the experiences and omnichannel services shoppers expect. Indeed, not only do customers want better experiences; 86% are willing to pay more for them. Retailers that invest in them, therefore, can benefit from both increased footfall and higher prices, helping stave off competition from low-cost eCommerce stores.
Retailers are attracting shoppers back into their stores by transforming their retail spaces. Amazon, together with most of the UK’s leading supermarkets, are all now trialling checkout-free grocery stores. Using smartphone apps, CCTV and intelligent shelving, items that customers choose are automatically tallied on the app and paid for as they leave the store. This type of transformation removes the biggest single pain point for in-store consumers, queueing, while significantly reducing overheads at the same time.
For other brands, the aim is to create retail spaces where customers can have enjoyable, engaging and memorable experiences and immerse themselves in the brand on a sensual and emotional level. Commonly referred to as ‘retailtainment’, brands across the UK are transforming their stores in a way that appeals to the modern, experience-led consumer. This can include creating spaces for authors to meet customers in a bookshop, cocktail making in a liquor store, or trying on cosmetics in an interactive booth. Elsewhere, there are 3D meet and greet holograms, interactive merchandising displays, in-store cafés and much more. The options are limitless.
Some major ‘retailtainment’ redevelopments include the Adidas mega-store in London, where changing room interfaces enable customers to request different coloured and sized items, or the House of Vans store where shoppers can watch movies, enjoy music concerts and even go skating.
While redevelopment is necessary to meet today’s needs, so too is carrying out retail transformation in a sustainable way. Not only is this important for the planet; it’s also beneficial for the brand. Today’s eco-friendly consumers increasingly want to shop with brands that share their values and which reduce their impact on the environment.
Aside from striving to make our own operations and supply chain environmentally friendly, we at Sigma are working tirelessly to deliver sustainable CSR for our clients, enabling them to operate responsibly and attract today’s green customers.
Recently, as part of a 1,300 store redevelopment project for a major retailer, we took all the outgoing fixtures and fittings from across the entire estate and sorted them for reuse, refurbishment and recycling. By removing these on the same vehicles in which new equipment was delivered, we succeeded in cutting transport-related carbon emissions by half. Additionally, we also recycled all 8,000 pallets used in the project, saving around two thousand trees.
Making transformation happen
Transforming physical stores in a way that meets consumer expectations and provides great customer experience requires significant infrastructure changes and the deployment of the latest technologies. Sigma works in partnership with clients to identify value-bringing opportunities, with our fit-out and redevelopment services delivering projects from planning through to completion. Our skilled project managers, meanwhile, manage supplier lead times and equipment procurement, drive cost efficiency, and ensure reporting timelines and review periods are met.
For shopping centres, retail parks, factory outlets and high street stores wishing to reimagine in-store customer experiences, the support of a trusted and experienced partner, like Sigma, can be essential to achieving success. With over 20 years’ experience in redeveloping commercial spaces, we bring all stakeholders together so that complex, innovation-driven projects are cost-effective, seamless and on time across entire estates.
To find out more, get in touch with the experienced Sigma team today: https://www.sigmagrp.co.uk/contact/