Retail Space Planning Community


TLDR: Six Stories Space Planners Should Skim

By Mike Wilkening, Communications Manager, ARC

In this Space Planning Community feature, we share brief summaries and links to six retail stories with implications for space planners. Want to see a story featured? Send us an email here and we’ll feature in the next issue, with a shoutout.  

On retail safaris and the journey of curating great store experiences — Retail4Growth


Why You Should Read: Matthew Brown has been taking clients on “retail safaris” in major consumer markets for 25 years to see the latest store trends up-close. His observations throughout this piece offer plenty of food for thought for retail/CPG professionals. A couple of tidbits of note. One, Brown sees mid-category stores in a very tough spot, squeezed both by luxury brands and cheaper brands offering a luxury-lite experience at an attractive price point. Two, Brown isn’t completely sold on some of the technology spending he’s seeing in various categories. Said Brown: “(The) first thing I’d say to a retailer is think very carefully before using technology. And if you really want to save money, just to do the cheaper things that have better impact.”  

Jewelry Retailers on the Art of Visual Merchandising — JCK


Why You Should Read: This is a quick read, but a good one, on a category (jewelry) where in-store experience can be essential to winning the shopper — and keeping the shopper’s business. The panel interviewed here listed colors, scents, and music as sensory elements key to an experience that captivates the consumer. (Aside: These elements probably don’t hurt in calming a shopper anxious about dropping a lot of money, either.)

The Silly Reason We Keep Building Retail Space When So Much of it Is Already Empty Slate


Why You Should Read: George Washington University public policy professor Leah Brooks and Harvard associate professor of planning and urban economics Rachel Meltzer argue that there is “strong evidence that the demand for [urban] retail spaces has softened over the past decade” and that cities “have to accept the obsolescence of much of the current retail building stock in cities and be creative about how to repurpose it.” The authors’ full study is well-worth a read as well for those interested in a deeper look at one public policy view on retail vacancies. As the work-from-home and e-commerce trends take a more permanent hold, the retail landscape figures to change along with it.

As Gen Z changes the way we shop, here’s what retail could look like in 10 years MarketWatch


Why You Should Read: You might be skeptical of another “future of retail” story. When first glancing at just the headline, we thought the same thing, too, but it never hurts to read a little, and upon reviewing, there were some good nuggets for our retail and CPG audience. The author, Jurica Dumjovic, brings a futurist’s and gamer’s lens to the topic, the latter of which is particularly compelling. Among the things we might see in 2035, according to the author: “Using augmented reality (AR) interfaces, shoppers might modify design elements of their products, such as color, pattern and materials, which are then instantly created using 3D printing technology at nearby fulfillment centers.” The implications of this would be significant across retail and for suppliers. Think of how those stores might look.

How can pop-up shops elevate airport retail strategies? Passenger Terminal Today


Why You Should Read: We span the globe looking for trends, and so we come to a publication focused on airport terminals. And even at airports, pop-up stores are making an impact. As the article notes, these pop-ups allow airport operators to see if a certain concept will work over the longer term in a duty-free shop. The pop-up concept has advantages both for brands and for airports; for brands, it’s relatively inexpensive exposure, and for airports, the pop-ups can sometimes be nestled into existing space, reducing costs, with San Francisco International Airport’s successful pop-up program one example.

Yellow lighting illuminates Le Pére store in New York by BoND – Dezeen


Why You Should Read: This article is a few months old, but new to us, and it has some fascinating visuals. Fashion retailer Le Pére’s use of yellow lighting throughout its New York store is definitely unique. Yellow conveys warmth and happiness, and Target has made it a featured color in its summer branding. The upshot for retail and consumer professionals reading? It never hurts to think about the power of a pop of bright color. Not every store is going to go bold like Le Pére, but why not occasionally read up on some Color Theory and consider if there’s a bright, cheap way to draw the eye?

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About the Author: Mike Wilkening, Communications Manager, for the Association of Retail and Consumer Professionals (ARC).

Mike brings more than two decades of communications experience to the CMA/SIMA. He began his career in journalism, spending more than 10 years covering the National Football League for Pro Football Weekly and NBC’s Pro Football Talk. His bylines have also appeared in CBS MarketWatch, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, NBC New York, and More recently, he has pivoted to corporate communications, including strategy and messaging experience for a Fortune 500 company. Mike holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois.