Moving Ahead: Designing a Retail Space Interior in a Post-COVID World
Thoughtful, deliberate design in retail space interiors has never been more important than now. With the holiday season just around the corner, getting customers back into stores will be the biggest challenge for store owners. What we need to be thinking about is first and foremost making the store safe for people to return.
But there is also the psychological hurdle that we must overcome which is making the customers “feel” safe to return. This second issue is the one that will impact retail space design in the long run. The pandemic has raised everyone’s awareness of infectious diseases, and designing a retail space to meet shopper expectations must take this into consideration going forward.
More Elegant Solutions Are in Demand
Most stores have already implemented temporary retail interior design stopgaps, such as acrylic panels, as a short-term solution to help curb the spread of COVID-19. This will most likely continue well into the future, but the feedback we have been receiving from the design community is that the execution of these safety panels and related protections like sneeze guards will evolve with more elegant solutions in the long run. People are more aware than ever before about things like respiratory droplets and the physical touching of objects.
Recently, we have been receiving many inquiries for high-end retail interior design hardware products, such as stainless-steel brackets, standoffs, and balustrade clamps, that respond to both new and traditional consumer health and safety expectations (and government requirements), and do so in a way that is both stylish and apparent to customers. This feedback has been so significant that Sugatsune released a new catalog highlighting hardware that can provide a more integrated look for acrylic or glass dividers:
The Need for Flexible, De-Crowded Spaces Is Growing
Another trend that we have been hearing about in retail interior design is a heightened call for solutions that create more flexibility in configurations within the retail space. This means deploying more movable fixtures and kiosks that alleviate the crowding of people within one part of an interior space. This new push toward flexibility also allows for enhancing the customer experience in new ways, as stores can create different spaces more easily.
Due to this demand, items like our HG-S Swivel Torque Hinges have become popular to mount onto monitors, iPads, and LCD signage. At Sugatsune we are also seeing even stronger demand for our top-selling EB-303/EP Folding Shelf Bracket, which can hold up to 660 lbs. per pair and is now available with a soft-closing feature. Another option is our full lineup of Casters and Adjustable Leveling Glides, in stock throughout the U.S. to provide a sturdy structure while maintaining a fixture’s portability.
Presentation Still Makes All the Difference
Even with all the upheavals and industry changes, the details are what still matter the most for designers when it comes to designing a retail space interior, as they work to create displays that resonate with customers in these new times. Display showcases are still critical to show off products, and, whether it is for portable kiosks in ordinary stores or luxe fixtures in Fifth Avenue type destination spots, hardware is becoming more of a critical design element in retail interiors.
This has been seen by a growing interest in Sugatsune’s new GS Series of Hinges and Locks. These premium showcase hardware products provide an integrated aesthetic as each hinge, latch, and lock is designed to match while providing a streamlined appearance in the store. Security is of course critical and being able to lock cabinets and cases is a must.
Practical Options Are Available
Many stores have incorporated cool electronic locks, some of which even operate using apps on associates’ phones. But we are finding that, for a good majority of smaller boutique and local stores, the expenses and complexity of these systems aren’t practical for designing a retail space interior economically.
For these players, they have found our 7110 Security High Security Lock to be a “cool” and aesthetically pleasing alternative. The lock itself features a unique round-designed hole that blends into the showcase. A round “dimple” key, of which 500,000 key changes are available, is used to engage the pins within the lock. With this design, the best part is that it becomes virtually impossible to pick the lock hence maximizing the showcase’s security.
Sugatsune Is Helping Developers Keep Up with Retail Interior Design Trends
Amidst these uncertain times, there are so many unknowns but for retail stores, reopening and regaining foot traffic is certainly the most critical. As the A&D community continues to work diligently with store owners to survive, Sugatsune wants to continue providing new ideas and new ways to incorporate our unique lineup of hardware to help make this happen. Designing a retail space isn’t something developers have to do alone! As a responsive supplier, many of the 6,000+ products in our inventory were developed to meet developer needs.