Brick-and-mortar retail stores are making a comeback, reinventing themselves as smart, technology driven experiential spaces. As the stores of the future gear up to create a multi-dimensional and indelible customer experience, the architect’s role in giving security careful design consideration becomes increasingly more important.
In spite of constant headlines about the seemingly unstoppable decline of the brick-and-mortar shop, research by Storefront shows that a staggering 90% of worldwide retail sales are still done in physical stores.
There is a drive to merge online and offline channels to meet changing consumer needs and the demand for a superior, unified experience. Retailers are increasingly aware that the in-store experience is proving to be an essential touchpoint in the omnichannel customer journey and therefore needs reinventing. This is driving considerable investment in technology: Gartner, Inc forecasts that global retail sector technology spending will reach almost $203.6 billion in 2019, and grow 3.6 percent to 2021.
As retailers quickly move to adopt new technology, the shopping experience is becoming more interactive and more playful. In fact, from digital screens to smart beacons, Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality (AR), technology is now a cornerstone to delivering the omnichannel, personalised shopping experience consumers expect. The Medium found that 77% of people want to use this type of technology as part of their experience.
Artificial Intelligence and AR are key investment areas today, with smart mirrors delivering an in-store 3D experience that allow shoppers to virtually see and feel product differences in colour and style – Another article in the Medium reported that 61% of shoppers already prefer to shop in stores that offer AR over ones that don’t.
Protecting the transforming retail experience
Physical security isn’t always a top of mind consideration when it comes to designing this smarter in-store retail experience. However, collaboration with the right security partner can make the difference between an inflexible and quickly outdated space, and a dynamic, engaging and fully secure one that doesn’t compromise the experiential element of the store.
It’s only right that retailers should want to protect their investments, to ensure a seamless customer experience while being fully secure. A 2018 survey by National Retail Federation showed that shrink or loss of inventor related to theft, shoplifting, error or fraud is reducing the bottom line by $46.8 billion.
So, security remains an important aspect of protecting the retail bottom line. But now needs to be considered more holistically as part of the overall experience design.
Security – 3 key consideration when designing smarter physical retail spaces
1. Designed-in security reduces the risk of technology conflicts
In the traditional store model, security systems and devices essentially only had to ‘physically’ compete with electrical installations, such as lighting and sound.
With the integration of new technologies into retail spaces, technology planning needs to encompass experiential and security equipment. This ensures that conflicts don’t appear further down the line, particularly on the electrical side, where careful consideration needs to be given to the positioning of the security equipment to ensure the correct electrical provisions can be given.
The right security partner will be able to identify the potential conflicts early on, and offer recommendations to ensure security aligns with the experiential vision and security needs.
2. Protect the design aesthetics and retail experience integrity
Conflicts with security technology may arise beyond the electrical planning. If security isn’t planned at the same time as the rest of the technology and experience, this may lead to security equipment not fitting the intended look and feel of the retail space or having to be positioned in sub-optimal locations.
This could see security equipment invading highly designed space that should be dedicated to experiential technology. This could also lead to compromising the effectiveness of the security equipment, for example creating CCTV blind spots. Similarly, the physical position of fire safety devices must consider compliance requirements. Architects that ignore these requirements face the risk of design and aesthetics conflicts later.
3. Future proof the experience design
As stores need to constantly re-invent themselves, it is important that the security technology and equipment is flexible enough to accommodate regularly changing in-store designs, and reduces the risks of constraining the retail experience as it evolves. From wireless technologies to technology upgrade services and even financing options, the right security partner will provide the advice architects need to future-proof the security and viability of the in-store experience.
To find out more about how security can enhance the smarter retail experience, contact us today