A focus on fresh departments, technological innovations, innovative areas offering unique products and services, and intuitive layouts are among the elements currently being incorporated into new stores; accurately reflecting the concerns and aspirations of a store’s surrounding demographics is also key.
Bashas’ relies on both a design firm and an in-house design team, the design firm providing information on the latest trends, efficiencies and sustainability upgrades, while the internal team interprets consumer sensitivity to provide a fluid, positive customer experience.
“During our extensive store remodel plan, we have paid close attention to the focus on fresh, locally sourced and convenient food options,” Basha says. “In that respect, we work hard to grow the variety of offerings in all perimeter departments.”
The retailer’s latest design innovation is at its Bashas’ Diné market, in Window Rock, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation. While the store’s décor and signage have always reflected the Navajo language and culture, Basha explains, the recent remodel has revitalized that celebration of the local community.
“We worked especially hard to ensure that everything, from the basic store design and offerings to the local artisans’ artwork displayed throughout the store, honors that vibrant culture of the Navajo people,” he says.
Basha envisions technological advancements in both building operations and customer support in the future of store design.
Some supermarkets rely primarily on in-house teams, others on outside design firms, and a few on a combination of both to generate and execute design ideas.
At De Pere, Wis.-based Festival Foods, Store Planning Director Aaron Aspenson asserts: “Store design is paramount to successful store operations. With an evolving and increasingly competitive grocery landscape, we are constantly looking for ways to innovate in order to exceed our guests’ expectations.”
Aspenson believes that a good store design drives sales, looks full and fresh without sacrificing on shrink, allows for efficient workflow, and provides an easy, enjoyable shopping experience.
“We design our fixture plans in-house,” he says, “as we lean on the experts from each department to provide feedback and recommendations regarding their respective areas. We also gain efficiencies in speed and cost.”
For the future of store design, Aspenson predicts designing to elevate fresh and prepared foods, ecommerce space allocation, more self-service, and efficient space planning in smaller footprints, as well as community gathering spaces and value-added services not available online. He also sees a continuing focus on lowering energy consumption and costs by way of new technology and equipment.
Despite the encroachments of digital, in-person shopping isn’t going away.
Home Away From Home
“A design reflects the mood and attitude of our owners,” says Susan Budlong, marketing and communications manager at East Greenwich, R.I.-based Dave’s Fresh Marketplace. “To us, the design is coming home. We want our customers to feel like they are shopping in a store that reflects their neighborhoods. Our customer service departments are the hub of the neighborhood, providing friendly faces and answers to questions.”
Dave’s wants young people to visit its stores with wonder, and the older generation to feel a touch of nostalgia, she says, and to these ends, the retailer works closely with the design team at Cheshire, Conn.-based wholesaler Bozzuto’s, headed by Dave Falt, and Fairfield, Ohio-based CIP Retail to bring it all to life.
“The end of 2017 saw Dave’s Fresh Marketplace completing the remodeling and upgrade to all new deli cases that have self-service and full-service options,” she notes, adding: “Perishable is king. We will continue to update and invest in our stores to balance a comfortable, bright shopping experience with fresh, high-quality perishables.”