From Trends to Shifts - Shopping Centers Refashioned

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As the country emerges from isolation following the COVID19 pandemic, retailers are considering how two months of seclusion have altered the habits and needs of the average consumer. According to a survey conducted in April by Brick Meets Click, online grocery sales saw a 37% increase over March sales. Certainly, this trend is not new but it appears necessity has accelerated adoption.

Continued Trends

Services like online shopping and delivery services, third-party personal shoppers, and buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) have been available for years have seen a significant rise in usage over the past months. Many will continue with these online shopping habits not only as a way to avoid close contact but also because of the added convenience.

Architects are embracing technology-inspired commerce and innovations in online shopping and convenience services like BOPIS will continue to gain momentum.

Store designs going forward may feature a new take on curbside pick-up zones, drive-thru windows, and menu boards for drive-up shopping (think Sonic® fast-food chain). The typical store footprint will also shift as the need to accommodate foot traffic converts to a need for fulfillment centers.

Coming Shifts

Of course, changes focused on creating a safe store environment are also expected. In their Blueprint for Shopping Safe, the National Retail Federation outlined a three-phase approach for reopening retail:

  • Phase 1 – Allow e-commerce, no-contact curbside pickup, and in-home delivery;
  • Phase 2 – Re-open stores to the public with social distancing protocols, and reduced occupancy; then
  • Phase 3 – Establish protective measures before lifting all restrictions.

Some of the recommended protocols included signage for occupancy limits, face covering, and distancing as well as frequent sanitation for high-touch areas like fitting rooms and PIN pads. Already we see more hand sanitizer stations, touchless fixtures in restrooms, and shields at the cash wrap.

Next Steps

Shopping Centers that are efficiently adapting and making the transition into this “refashioned” world of retail are the winners. The first place to look when considering store updates is understanding the existing conditions versus future needs.

Shopping Center North Market Columbus OH

In many cases, record-keeping for the physical building has not kept pace with the changes inside the store. In older shopping centers, accurate documentation for MEP, utilities, and structural tie-ins will be critical to modify the exterior facade without interferences. If this is the case for your project, Coast 2 Coast has expertise in recreating current architectural conditions in a format that will assist in envisioning the future. Whether that means an as-built or BOMA survey, an MEP Checklist report, or 360º visualization so store planners can view the space from home, we’re here to help.


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