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Instancy Retail

Photo credit: Gensler

In today’s retail landscape, we are experiencing an exciting new retail movement that will add value, relevance, and unique store-within-a-store destinations to the department store of tomorrow. I have coined this movement Instancy Retail and defined it as the sudden deployment of branded shops within the department store environment as an alternative growth strategy for brands without an existing brick-and-mortar presence.

Instancy Retail represents an exciting business opportunity as well as a moment for brands to instantly reach out to consumers across the country in a more memorable and intimate way.

The opportunity for brands to have an in-store experience without a brick-and-mortar investment is unprecedented. Virtually overnight, they can have a physical presence in stores across the country at a cost far less than that for a stand-alone store. This new space represents next-generation thinking from both the retailer’s and the consumer’s perspectives.

From the retailer’s point of view, the business model for execution and operations yields far fewer liabilities on lease time, reduces design fees, lowers construction cost, and speeds product to market distribution in a well choreographed, environmental customer experience.

One example of this movement is the Liz Claiborne shops in JCPenney (JCP). Liz Claiborne will open approximately 650 branded shops nationwide in less than a year. Another retailer, Joe Fresh, is also embracing this concept. They have only a handful of stores now, but soon they will have branded shops on a national scale.

Photo credit: Gensler

Another brand embracing this movement is Haggar. They are working on several shop-in-shop prototype designs with Gensler to introduce their brand in a more engaging retail environment. The power of Instancy Retail is immediate connection to consumers across a broad geographic spectrum. From a consumer’s perspective, this will provide an engaging, physically branded environment they may never have been exposed to otherwise. This personalized brand experience will attract a wider consumer demographic and should be especially appealing to Gen X, Y, and Z because younger consumers want to be associated with brands in a more personalized way. Whether via social media, community connectivity, or the retail experience, younger consumers demand surprise and delight. The resurgence of well-branded shops connects shoppers to the brand on both a physical and emotional level. A thoughtful branded shop environment is more memorable, experiential, and fun … keys to appealing to younger consumers.

This exciting new concept also poses a creative challenge for design firms to create a distinctive customer experience within a house of brands. Through iconic brand architecture and the creation of spaces that promote intimate, individualized shopping moments, these shops become a more relevant boutique store experience.

Another challenge for design firms is the planning and deployment of hundreds of shops in locations across the country. For the national implementation of Liz Claiborne in JCP, Gensler executed the design in two weeks and completed the planning and rollout of all 650 shops within four weeks. Combined with the construction of the shops, the final timeline was around a 12-week period.

This translated into 48 stores planned per day representing 80,000 square feet and a design and implementation team of more than 22 people in three Gensler offices. Our national geographic coverage and networked resources are a big advantage in large-volume rollouts such as those at JCP. Being able to deploy an integrated team across the country and craft a cohesive design and delivery strategy gives our customers a competitive edge by reducing their time and expense to market. It's a brave new retail world out there, and branded experiences are king. It is very exciting to partner with our customers to meet the challenges head on.

Kyle is a retail design director in Gensler’s Dallas office. He has been engaged in retail design for 20 years and is still fascinated by the dynamic energy and speed that the retail industry possesses. Kyle believes that the power of design in retail environments is the most accessible, influential, and impactful in today’s culture. When he isn’t working on the next big consumer experience, he spends time with his wife and six children trying to figure out “what’s for dinner?” Contact him at kyle_jeffery@gensler.com.

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Reader Comments (1)

I wish jcp had rolled out this version of the haggar and docker shop instead of the version they went with. The shop concept was so awesome and as a visual I'm disappointed the vision didn't work.
05.26.2014 | Unregistered CommenterJcpVisual

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