If you’ve been to one of the 100 largest Apple Stores recently, then you noticed a big difference. Apple has redesigned all of these stores with the goal of turning them into community spaces. Apple Stores have always had a social side (before 4G and abundant data, I knew people who would swing into an Apple Store to check their email or browse the internet), so Apple is leaning into that concept. These stores are shifting their Genius Bars into “Genius Groves” (yes, there are trees) and launching new 90-minute “Today at Apple” workshops all with the goal of improving the stores’ atmosphere.
The Apple Store redesign is part of a larger trend in retail of enhancing the customer in-store experience. Each year, digital shopping becomes easier and retail foot traffic is dropping. Millennials are increasingly becoming the desired target and their shopping habits are significantly different from the previous generations’.
So, the question for retailers is how do you justify redesigns by quantifying subjective goals, such as “increased customer loyalty” and “enhanced customer experience?”
Measuring Subjective Goals
A recent study looked at this exact issue and determined that it is possible to measure how changes in store design impact a retailer’s bottom line.
One fact to emerge from this study is that the most common reasons for a redesign are idiosyncratic: such as delivering a universal customer experience through the store and all additional channels; earning a competitive edge by distinguishing your store from others; augmenting the store’s flow and the customer’s journey; and better engagement with current customers.
These reasons are all valid. In fact, addressing them is essential because they are driven by customer demand. Fortunately, the study determined that measurements designed to test results for more traditional (i.e., objective) goals could also be used to measure progress toward these newer idiosyncratic (i.e., subjective) goals.
Justifying that Redesign
The study found that data from subjective goals should to be combined with data from objective goals to help retailers appraise their store redesigns. Retailers need to identify (and stick to!) a few, specific goals. The next step is to evaluate everything pertaining to those goals.
So, while it may be easier to prove that a change in location increases or decreases sales of a specific item, it is possible to prove that a new layout is what vaulted your store to become a customer favorite.
For example (and these numbers are 100 percent theoretical), let’s say over the next year Apple’s redesigned stores see a sales increase of 40 percent over the older stores. How can Apple know the true reason for this increase? Because sales numbers alone don’t provide an explanation. However, a survey would. Through an extensive survey, Apple will be able to conclusively tell if the redesign was a reason for the increase in sales.
According to the research, this approach to measuring ROI is an “ironclad framework for success,” and as retail technology improves, there is going to be no lack of data to analyze.
The vast majority of retailers expect to redesign stores in the next two to five years. In fact, a third of all retailers feel that is too long to wait – that a redesign should occur at least every two years. Regardless, this commitment to the redesign showcases the importance of the in-store experience to a retailer’s brand.
Determining ROI on a store redesign is possible. You simply need to determine the goals of the redesign and identify the metrics for those goals – even if you need to step far outside the box to do so. And we can help. Give The Trade Group a call at 800-343-2005 to see how our full-service, retail solutions can define your redesign.