Is Your Age Showing?

» Is Your Age Showing?

While maturity might be an asset, looking your age is not such a good thing. We are a culture that values newness. Most of us can probably relate, if the sales of anti-aging beauty products are any indicator. And, if it’s true for us folks, it goes double for our stores.

The fact is that it’s hard to age gracefully in retail. Most chains have those legacy stores that don’t quite measure up to their customers’ high expectations any more. Sadly, no one has invented a wrinkle cream that will magically erase the years on aging brands yet.

If it’s any consolation, everyone feels it, from c-stores to QSRs to grocers to specialty retail and big box stores. Here are lessons from a few that chose to go “under the knife” recently:

  • Rethink size – of your aisles and stores: Target is in the midst of a major remodel initiative. They are planning to update 1,000 stores by 2020. Their goal is to make Target “America’s easiest place to shop” with wider aisles and more small-format sites, which they say are more profitable per square foot and drive more frequent purchases.
  • Take inspiration from HGTV: Zaxby’s celebrated its 25th anniversary with a remodel that capitalized on the popular farmhouse design trend. CEO Zach McLeroy’s advice? “Don’t wait until it’s broken to fix it. The new store design provides us a better connection point with guests, and we’ve already seen sales increases at the stores [sporting the new design].”
  • Think local. In late 2017, Kroger announced a major three-year remodel plan that will affect about 700 stores. Each design will be tailored to the community’s needs. As CEO Stuart Aitken told the Cincinnati Business-Courier, “We’re going to right-size categories. I’m sure many of you have walked into stores and said, ‘Why is this category so big?’ Stores will be right for the communities they serve.”

Store-Specific Design is Becoming More Prevalent

To expand on Kroger’s thinking, localization is a great way to emphasize the quality of the store experience. Chain Store Age calls it “adding some local ‘special sauce’ to an individual store location.” Even if you keep fixtures, layout and equipment the same for brand consistency, you can use special materials and graphics to add local flavor, such as a mural or an exposed brick wall that ties back to the industrial history of the community. Play up architectural elements and categories that do well in certain markets. For example, T-Mobile’s new Miami Beach store has an Art Deco façade to match local surroundings and its Las Vegas store has a concierge desk, an amenity you’d find in resorts on The Strip.

Why It’s Worth It to Get a Facelift

We think the industry news blog Food Dive said it best:

[Renovations are] important for legacy retailers at a time of unparalleled competition… Retailers want to provide convenient and welcoming stores for consumers offering tailored products and personalized approaches to build brand loyalty and enhance the shopping experiences. Remodels are one way to push that agenda along. If the designs are customer-friendly, the experience engaging, prices are reasonable and potential competitors are warded off, such investments are worth every penny.

Want more ideas to improve the look of your legacy stores? Take a look at a recent store reimaging project we did for Kum & Go here. And please feel free to contact us anytime.