Retail Design is the conceptualisation, development and documentation of fitouts for retailers of varying types and sizes in shopping centres, high streets (strip shops) and stand-alone (big box).
Conceptualisation (Concept Design) is the development of a retail design solution from scratch or the evolution of an existing design. It establishes a look and feel for the complete project. Invariably, the concept relates back to the retail brand, strategy and product range.
Development (Design Development) resolves detail issues and ensures that the concept can be realised effectively and efficiently. Elements that will be repeated (such as fixtures, signage and lighting) are designed in detail and materials and finishes are identified and tested.
Documentation comprises drawings, schedules and specifications that allow shopfitters to accurately price the fitout work and ultimately to implement the project.
Retail Roll out
Retail Roll out refers to the application of an existing Retail Design to multiple sites or locations. Working with a set of standard components, the shape and constraints of each site are considered and a unique layout and set of documents are prepared. The essence of the original concept is always maintained so that there is a strong visual link between all the stores.
Many local retail solutions and most international solutions move to a roll-out phase after a pilot store has been completed and reviewed to ensure that it is well resolved and achieves the objectives of the brief.
For some clients, BrookingHarper offers a Store Development service, which extends beyond the design and delivery process. We can work with an in-house store development team or independently, where a retailer doesn’t have this resource. Store development expands the scope into site selection, lease negotiation, shopping centre liaison, project coordination, merchandising, staffing and launch activities.
Project coordination is a key element of store development and can be provided as part of a larger service or on it’s own. Project coordination brings together all the elements of a retail fitout to ensure a seamless result. Typically, the parties to be coordinated are the design team (where this isn’t BrookingHarper), the services and specialist consultants (such as Structural Engineers, HVAC, Access Consultants and Certifiers), Suppliers (where there are independent fixture, signage or other suppliers), Shopfitters and other specialist or nominated contractors, Shopping Centre Design Managers, Merchandisers and Advertising or Promotions agencies.
Fixture, Kiosk and Exhibition Design
Sometimes a project doesn’t require an ‘environment’ with lighting, services and an enclosure but instead is an object or form. This includes specific fixtures, which will be used in a retail environment, kiosks that can be used temporarily or permanently in shopping centre walkways or exhibition stands to be used at tradeshows and events.
BrookingHarper has experience in designing and developing these items, typically as an extension to a retail design project.
Visual Merchandising (VM)
Visual Merchandising refers to the components of a shop that change frequently to communicate new products, new services, special offers or short-term messages. This can include window displays (including showcases, digital displays and posters) as well as feature areas within the store. To fully integrate VM into a store design, BrookingHarper believes that it has to be well considered from the outset, provide flexibility for any eventuality, be impactful (due to location, lighting, etc) and easy to update regularly.
The lines between retail, hospitality and corporate design are often blurred. A shop with space for consulting or a back of house staff area, a café as part of a retail offer or an office that is similarly branded to the retail offer are all commonplace. BrookingHarper is experienced in designing these areas as an extension to a retail project to integrate and align these spaces with the core brand and message.
Audit and Review
Sometimes a retailer simply wants to evaluate the effectiveness of their existing retail offer without necessarily embarking on a redesign project. They require an objective review by someone that understands the key elements of retail design and has a breadth of experience. We call this Audit and Review. The process begins by identifying which stores are to be reviewed. Usually the latest store is reviewed as well as some key or flagship stores and perhaps some stores where specific issues have been identified.
We visit the stores and review the layout and planning, the lighting, the fixturing and merchandising, the promotional material and signage and how well the retail brand is being conveyed. We prepare a comprehensive report and present it live to the stakeholders, identifying things that work well, things that don’t work so well and any ‘alarm bells’. Sometimes the solutions are not design based but relate to staff, shopping centre, merchandise or maintenance. Alternatively, the Audit and Review report can be easily developed into a brief if the retailer wishes to undertake a retail design project with BrookingHarper or another consultant.
Consultancy covers a wide range of miscellaneous services. Sometimes retailers want us to sit in on meetings with shopping centres to ‘translate’ their requirements and to get a better understanding of what is required of them. Sometimes we help to review the design work of others to provide a second opinion or to validate a solution. And at other times we meet with retailers to throw some ideas around or to provide an opinion on what they are proposing to do. Having been involved in so many retail projects over the years, we feel well qualified and comfortable with providing this support.