Tidy and fun are among the features Millennials are looking for in store design, according to a study from researchers at the University of Florida.
As part of the study, Millennial students at the school evaluated stores within a five-mile radius of campus. Over 500 images, accompanied by detailed annotations averaging about 30 words of what they liked and didn’t like were analyzed.
The study, featured in the Journal of Interior Design, uncovered seven themes:
1. Tidiness: Millennials reacted negatively to selling floors that appeared messy and dirty. They even objected to having employees restocking shelves when they were shopping.
2. Organization: Clearly organized merchandise (e.g., color blocking) that facilitated the shopping experience was frequently called out.
3. Humor/fun: Participants appreciated tongue-in-cheek humor, whether from novel mannequin displays, playful imagery or witty signs.
4. Quality: Millennials liked when bargain stores invested in higher-end displays that seemed to enhance the quality of the products.
5. Ease: Retail environments with well-defined spaces that encouraged easy navigation to find what they were looking for without question were preferred.
6. Personalization: Millennials appreciated having an “at-home experience” or residential feeling inside stores.
7. Aesthetic attributes: Some shoppers identified the color white as aesthetically pleasing and representative of “upscale,” “clean,” and “modern” interiors. Another hue that drew interest was the color red because it signaled sales merchandise.
The study did not cover what many have said are important areas of concern in designing for Millennials, such as addressing the tech-savvy generation with interactive touchscreens, videos and charging stations. Providing opportunities for social sharing is also often recommended.
In a blog entry, WSG Interiors, a U.K.-based store design specialist, wrote that studies show that Millennials see shopping more as a social activity and delivering “an ‘experience’ is a new thing” for many stores. However, rather than simply adding a café to a store or setting up gimmicks like selfie points, the design changes have to work for the customer.
“For many, it won’t really take much realignment, just a little extra thought,” WSG wrote. “But for others, this might mean revisiting their entire store design. It’s about understanding your audience.”
*shared from: www.retailwire.com
Restrooms are a vital component of any facility. And providing ADA compliant restrooms that are usable by individuals with disabilities can present challenges, particularly in older facilities.
But, it’s important to note that accessible elements and features will work for everyone. For example, parents pushing baby strollers appreciate accessible entrances with zero steps or level landings. And seniors with arthritis rely on operating controls that do not require tight grasping or twisting to operate.
Providing an accessible restroom that is usable to individuals with disabilities doesn’t have to be difficult. It only requires three components:
• The restroom must be designed in accordance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. If building or redesigning a restroom, facility cleaning managers should make sure that design professionals closely follow the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Saying that they are following “code” is not sufficient. Building Code and ADA Standards are not identical.
Ensure that the design documents and project manuals provide sufficient detail for the contractors to follow correctly. Stating, “create an ADA toilet stall” is insufficient detail on a set of construction documents.
• Creating appropriate design plans isn’t enough. Restrooms must also be constructed in accordance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Make sure that contractors and installers are following the details on the design plans. Being even 1/4-inch off in the placement of a toilet or a paper towel dispenser can make that element unusable for people with disabilities.
• The restroom must be maintained in accordance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This third component is often the biggest challenge for facility cleaning managers. The ADA requires “maintenance of accessible features,” which involves the cooperation of anyone who does any work in the restrooms.
A restroom harbors many “barriers” that fall into ADA regulations. Often the most overlooked are movable items such as trash receptacles. But simple process improvements when handling these items can guarantee the facility remains in compliance.
To adhere to the ADA, the cleaning staff must ensure that these movable items aren’t placed where clear floor space is required. For example, placing a trash receptacle under a paper towel dispenser may make sense, but it also blocks access to that dispenser for someone using a walker or a wheelchair.
It has also become common for departments to position a receptacle near the exit of the restroom. The goal is to collect paper towels that have been used to avoid touching door handles. But, the location of the waste bin can block appropriate access to the door. That floor space needs to be kept clear so that someone using a walker or a wheelchair can approach and exit the room without problem.
In addition to movable items, paper and soap dispensers, as well as hand dryers fixated on restroom walls fall under “barriers” in ADA regulations. There are specific measurement requirements for these dispensers, which must be taken into account when placing dispensers in the restroom.
Fixtures such as dispensers and hand dryers cannot protrude more than 4 inches off the wall if they are mounted between 27 and 80 inches above the floor. Also, the highest allowed height of the dispenser’s operating control is 48 inches above the floor. If the unit itself is deeper than 4 inches, make sure that it is not placed in the path of someone approaching the sink or door, as that is a protruding object for someone with a visual disability.
*repost from www.cleanlink.com
The age of web-based shopping has fueled brick-and-mortar openings.
November 14, 2016
NEW YORK CITY – Online shopping has changed the buying habits of Americans, but many online-only retailers are opening physical locations to further enhance the shopping experience, the New York Times reports. For example, last month, Amazon.com hinted that it might open convenience stores.
Both big and small companies online are finding that an actual store has allowed them to reach more customers and build their brands. In the United States, online sales will hit $394 billion in 2016, according to Forrester Research. That number is less than 12% of total retail sales, which Forrester Research predicts will reach $3.4 trillion this year.
However, online-influenced sales at brick-and-mortar stores (when a consumer looks online for a product but goes to a store for purchase) will generate an additional $1.3 trillion—around 38% of all retail sales. “Stores are still vitally important,” said Fiona Swerdlow, a vice president and research director at Forrester Research. “But the influence of digital touchpoints is huge.”
The Internet provided companies with an easier way to connect directly with consumers. “In a lot of categories, you’re seeing a significant shift from wholesale, as a percentage of their total revenue, to direct channels,” said Al Sambar, a managing partner at Kurt Salmon. Brands find that it’s easier to have a personal relationship with a customer online as well.
But what those companies are finding out now is that customers also want to visit a physical store. Traditional retailers like Saks are helping shoppers integrate their online experience with an in-person one, while online-only companies are branching out into actual stores. “We’re seeing this convergence where it’s the best of both worlds,” said Steven Barr, U.S. retail and consumer leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “It’s centered around extraordinary technology and extraordinary customer service.”
With a lower unemployment rate, moderate wage gains and cheap fuel and food prices, the pieces are falling into place for a more robust holiday shopping season.
Yet while the outlook is slightly more upbeat for retailers, a round of sales forecasts is calling for growth that’s roughly in line with last year.
Despite 2015’s results being held back by unseasonably warm temperatures — which forced retailers into taking aggressive price cuts — Deloitte predicts holiday spending will increase between 3.6 percent and 4 percent from November through January, to top $1 trillion. That’s roughly in line with last year’s results, when sales excluding motor vehicles, gasoline and restaurants rose 3.6 percent.
A separate prediction from Kantar Retail is calling for 3.8 percent growth in the fourth quarter, compared with a 3.4 percent gain in 2015. Its forecast excludes the same categories as Deloitte’s prediction.
Retail Next is calling for a more dramatic uptick from last November and December, when it says sales grew 1.3 percent by its measures. Still, it expects 2016 holiday growth to be roughly in line with the other two forecasts, at 3.2 percent.
“Folks are opening up their wallets a little bit,” said Rod Sides, who heads up Deloitte’s Retail & Distribution practice.
Indeed, consumers are loosening their purse strings. The personal saving rate was slightly lower in July than at the start of the year, falling to 5.7 percent from 6.2 percent, according to government data. Meanwhile, preliminary consumer confidence figures rose to 89.8 percent in September, up 2.6 percentage points from the prior year.
Yet an expected rise in health-care costs will likely weigh on consumers’ psyche, Sides said. That’s because Americans will be selecting their coverage plans for the upcoming year at the same time they’re doing their holiday budgeting.
Uncertainties surrounding the election are also seen keeping the lid on spending early in the season, though retailers are expected to make up for any lost spending once all the votes have been tallied. They could even see a lift from pent-up demand, Deloitte said. That would be just in time for the most critical shopping days, including Black Friday.
Thanks to a series of minimum wage hikes across the U.S., Sides predicts the low-income consumer will be in better shape to spend this holiday. But while the upper echelon of shoppers still has purchasing power, he said they will likely dedicate a larger share of their income to experiences over traditional goods. That trend has held back retail sales growth for more than a year.
Consumers’ addiction to discounts has likewise challenged retailers’ ability to grow the top line, as lower prices mean they have to sell more units to increase sales. Even though retailers’ inventory levels are more rational heading into this holiday season, Sides expects those with run-of-the-mill merchandise will be forced to continue down the path of excessive promotions.
“They can have a reasonable holiday season, but the price will be at [the expense of] margin,” he said. On the flip side, those retailers who can carve out a niche — or create a sense of scarcity for their merchandise — will win.
Companies who check off those boxes are off-price chains, where the merchandise is always changing, or small business players who are slowly stealing share from their larger competitors.
Online sales are once again expected to edge some 17 percent to 19 percent higher, reaching $96 billion to $98 billion, according to Deloitte. That growth rate is in line with last year’s figures, Sides said. Kantar Retail is calling for a similar 15.9 percent lift in fourth-quarter online sales, which would be a slight acceleration over last year’s 14.8 percent increase, by their methodology.
Retail Next predicts digital sales will rise 14.9 percent, compared with 12.6 percent in the final two months of last year. If realized, they would account for 16 percent of total retail sales in November and December, up from 14.4 percent in 2015, the firm said.
Fresh-cut vegetables are being recalled from convenience, grocery and discount stores because of potentially fatal Listeria bacteria.
August 30, 2016
WASHINGTON – Country Fresh LLC of Conroe, Texas, is recalling 30,000 cases of various fresh-cut vegetable products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
The product in question was shipped to grocery, discount and convenience retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia under the Country Fresh and store brand labels described in the product listing.
The product bears “BEST IF USED BY” dates between August 7-19, 2016. The product is in either a clear plastic container as labeled above or in Styrofoam trays overwrapped with clear plastic film as labeled above. No products except those on this list are subject to this recall.
To date, no illnesses have been confirmed by public health authorities.
“We are treating this incident very seriously because we want to ensure that our customers are provided with only the safest, most wholesome, and high-quality products available,” said Max Payen, Country Fresh’s director of food safety.
The potential for contamination was uncovered as the result of a single routine sample taken at a retail store by the Georgia Department of Agriculture, which revealed the finished product tested positive for the bacteria. The company has ceased distribution of the affected product as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Country Fresh continue their investigation as to what caused the problem. This recall is being undertaken with the knowledge of the FDA.
Consumers who have purchased any of these products are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (281) 453-3305, Monday through Friday, 9 am – 5 pm CDT.
View the full list of products subject to the recall on the FDA’s website.