Dec 18, 2019
11:24 am

Retail Design: Canadians Planning To Do Bulk Of Holiday Shopping In-Store

retail design

Every year there are reports of the demise of the retail industry, as more and more people take their shopping online.

A recent survey of over 2,500 Canadians, conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of the Retail Council of Canada, provides some good news for retailers.

According to the Holiday Shopping in Canada 2019 survey, 72% of holiday shopping will take place in-store. It is expected 28% of shopping will be done online through computers, tablets or mobile devices.

“More than two-thirds of Canadians want the tactile experience,” explains Karl Littler, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Retail Council of Canada.

“They want to touch and feel things before they buy them. [People] feel that shopping in malls or stores is part of the festive experience.”

Charl de la Harpe is the lead architect and principal for CTM Design: a Calgary-based firm that specializes in retail design for many of the country’s largest brands. He is confident retail businesses will continue to be a destination for shoppers seeking more than just a great bargain.

“The ability to offer exceptional in-person experiences is a distinct competitive advantage that brick and mortar businesses will always have over online competitors. Thoughtful design is essential to creating an inviting atmosphere,” de la Harpe says.

As an architect, de la Harpe suggests the best spaces are those that don’t feel crowded even when they are busy.

“Retail architects pride ourselves on paying attention to the way customers interact with space. It is as much an art as it is a science. You want people to feel welcome and at ease the minute they enter your store – and to leave the checkout with a big smile and an armful of merchandise.”

Store design and layout can enhance customer experience in numerous ways.

Floorplans can strategically funnel shoppers past key display areas. Ikea is a great example of this.

Lighting and choice of finishes set the mood. While an Apple Store is striking for its polished, high-tech white look and bright lighting, a high-end furniture store may opt for a less-intense, more soothing environment that is more reflective of home.

For retail chains, it is important to find an architect and engineering partner that can seamlessly execute the brand’s design standards, regardless of the size and shape of the space.

“Established retail brands deliver familiarity, predictability, and consistency across every location. The design team is crucial to successfully execute on this. In addition to tailoring the plans to conform to the space, they require knowledge of local bylaws and permitting requirements,” says de la Harpe.

The Retail Industry can be happy with the findings around holiday shopping intentions. Yet they cannot afford to be complacent. The same survey indicated that the number of customers planning to shop boxing day sales in-store falls to 61%: with 30% planning to shop online. And the numbers show that events such as Black Friday are being done with a swipe or a click of the mouse.

So this holiday season, we encourage you to go experience the personal touch of shopping at the mall. Be sure to take time to stop and smell the poinsettias!