En­gi­neer­ing Re­tail De­sign

The new role of Fix­ture De­sign in dy­namic shop­ping en­vi­ron­ments

VM&RD - - Retail Trends - Surender Gnanao­livu

Evolved re­tail­ers and brands today fo­cus on ‘the way they sell more than what they sell’ in their store en­vi­ron­ments. Ow­ing to the ex­po­sure to mul­ti­ple re­tail chan­nels, the con­nected con­sumer has an ex­pec­ta­tion of a dy­namic shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence. The phys­i­cal­ity of space in off­line store en­vi­ron­ments was thought to cre­ate a chal­lenge in cre­at­ing dy­namic prod­uct sto­ries in com­par­i­son to the same fea­tured on on­line stores. How­ever, re­tail de­sign was reimag­ined to be­ing in a strong di­men­sion of ex­pe­ri­ence in re­tail en­vi­ron­ments. The new role was to en­able re­tail en­vi­ron­ments to Phys­i­cally Brand, At­tract, Con­nect and En­gage (PACE) with its cus­tomers dur­ing their shop­ping jour­ney. With store de­sign trends shift­ing to minimalism, the pre­sen­ta­tion of a store’s dif­fer­en­tia­tors, its prod­ucts and ser­vices, have be­come very cru­cial. Fix­tures, the el­e­ment fea­tur­ing the prod­ucts, have a piv­otal role in de­liv­er­ing op­ti­mal PACE us­ing the in­no­va­tive en­gi­neer­ing in Re­tail De­sign.

Sim­plic­ity in de­sign is im­por­tant to en­sure the cen­tral fo­cus of the store is its of­fer­ings. Cur­rent trend is cre­at­ing light struc­tures us­ing sim­ple ge­o­met­ri­cal forms. In­fused in this is in­no­va­tive de­sign forms that im­pact the phys­i­cal brand­ing ob­jec­tive of the brand.

Suppleness in de­sign is a cru­cial re­quire­ment of change­able fix­tures con­fig­u­ra­tions for fre­quent reimag­i­na­tion of prod­uct planogram­ming sto­ries. This trend takes fix­ture fab­ri­ca­tion to pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing in ma­te­rial se­lec­tion, pro­duc­tion en­gi­neer­ing and R&D for op­ti­mal per­for­mance that make unique fix­tur­ing con­cepts pos­si­ble.

Stage-abil­ity is the art of hav­ing the abil­ity to reimag­ine and re-stage com­pelling prod­uct sto­ries us­ing the art of vis­ual mer­chan­dis­ing. Large mono­lith mer­chan­dis­ing is­lands are be­ing re­placed with mul­ti­ple clus­ters of smaller units that can be ar­ranged to­gether dif­fer­ently im­pact­fully for dif­fer­ent pre­sen­ta­tion ob­jec­tives.

Supportiveness is the use of the fix­ture’s phys­i­cal form to sup­port other new-age dis­play es­sen­tials like power and data. This al­lows the sys­tem to sup­port de­vices at the shelf that drive cus­tomer con­ve­nience and en­gage­ment ini­tia­tives seam­lessly. Fix­ture sup­ported light­ing, dig­i­tal dis­play and billing sys­tems are no more a thing of the fu­ture.

As il­lus­trated by many new store ex­pe­ri­ence de­sign schemes of lead­ing fast fash­ion brands, it is very ev­i­dent that the dis­ci­pline of Fix­tures De­sign in now clearly a cu­rated col­lab­o­ra­tion of re­tail de­sign ele­ments, en­gi­neer­ing and tech­nol­ogy that de­liver ef­fec­tive PACE in ex­pe­ri­en­tial en­vi­ron­ments. Surender has an ex­pe­ri­ence of over two decades in the In­dian re­tail in­dus­try in Re­tail Strat­egy, Store De­sign, Planning & De­vel­op­ment, Re­tail Mar­ket­ing, Vis­ual Mer­chan­dis­ing, Roll-out man­age­ment, Re­tail Au­dits, Train­ing, Teach­ing and Writ­ing. His ca­reer en­com­passes hold­ing of se­nior po­si­tions as Ex­ec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent & Head Mar­ket­ing, Brand Ex­pe­ri­ence, Store De­sign, Planning & De­vel­op­ment at lead­ing re­tail­ers like Shop­pers Stop, Re­liance Re­tail and Mahin­dra Re­tail and also as a se­nior re­tail con­sul­tant work­ing with lead­ing re­tail­ers and brands in In­dia. He is cur­rently a Sr Re­tail Ex­pe­ri­ence Con­sul­tant.

Pho­to­graphs: Surender Gnanao­livu

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