Small or large, retail construction trends spell growth for America’s stores
While many have grown tired of talking about the COVID pandemic, the impacts on retail construction included major hills and valleys over two hard, long years. Today, inflation, fuel and building material costs, and other pain points can be daunting to retail construction companies and their customers. Current challenges, future trends, when to apply the gas—and when retail store project managers should apply the brakes—present new and somewhat complex options.
Countless restaurants and regional chains shuttered because of the pandemic. However, those waves of stay-at-home orders by cities and counties that emptied restaurants and stores are fading from memory. The ever-resilient American entrepreneur is re-opening and determined to keep pace in 2022.
Resilience in American retail
For certain, shopping and dining in America have been redefined. Retailers acted fast with new ways to sell, serve, and deliver to customers. Home improvement chains actually kept pace or outperformed due to consumer trends in retailing and DIY.
Overall, the trend of integrating online and in-store shopping accelerated, so that brick-and-mortar stores now offer mature models for shoppers wanting to go virtual. Retailers adopted new commerce models to help keep consumers feeling safer. Changes often required modest investments in commercial remodeling and fixture installation. Other brands turned it into opportunity and went big—making sweeping changes across their stores and distribution centers.
2022 and 2023 retail construction trends
In 2022, customers are returning to a re-shaped retail landscape. People seem more comfortable shopping in stores again. Retailers are now renovating, refreshing, and opening new retail outlets to welcome the foot traffic.
Good news for general contractors in retail construction? Yes, according to Statista. The projected value of new retail construction starts for 2022 is an estimated $19.64 billion. According to the analysts—and this may be difficult to believe—but for every store that closed, it is forecast that two more will open.
RETAIL CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN
This year and in the years ahead, analysts advise retailers to ensure their stores can cater to consumer expectations. The bar has been raised on convenience, pick-up from online orders, and other creative features to accommodate consumer behaviors.
- BOPIS and Curbside Pickup
In early 2021, 69% of retailers had BOIPS (Buy Online, Pickup Instore). This was an increase of 54% in 2020. Of the Top 1000 retail chains, over 50% offered curbside pickup. Convenience continues to rise in popularity. However, not all locations have the space, traffic patterns, and so on to introduce all these services.
Early adopters created BOIPS kiosks near customer service. Remember the cones and makeshift signs to section off portions of parking lots for curbside pickup?
These are now long-term, sustainable tactics. Savvy retailers are restructuring stores to remodel and build permanent solutions. Making space for curbside pickup is still Job #1. Outdoor space also needs to accommodate delivery trucks and fulfillment for online orders going to consumers’ homes.
- Omnichannel experience
McKinsey reports that about 70% of consumers shop in an omnichannel way. However, 46% still prefer the in-person shopping experience over online.
Overall, e-commerce grew 14% in 2021. But e-commerce sales decreased from 13.6% to 13.2% of total sales. What does this mean for retailers?
Apparently, shoppers start their search for products online, but go to stores to touch, feel, assess, and complete their purchases. Shoppers today expect a seamless experience throughout this more common buying journey.
- Stores within a Store
About 52% of consumers say that convenience impacts half of their purchasing decisions. Retailers are upping the ante, offering third-party services like pharma and health services inside their footprints.
Large areas within Walgreens, Target, Costco, and Walmart are being dedicated to specialized services within the store’s facilities. Customers can shop for food and other goods while waiting for prescriptions, glasses, or even a doctor’s appointment.
Also, there is the growing phenomenon of pop-up stores or flash retailing. Third parties rent space from retailers to sell their goods. Sometimes seasonal or for shorter periods, this enables the large retailer to capitalize on trends or seasonal demands. About one-third of American retailers say pop-ups and in-person experiences will be increased or introduced going into the holidays and 2023.
Incorporating these offerings in-store often requires significant remodeling and renovation at retail.
- Contactless shopping
Self-checkout (SCOs) and contactless payment are commonplace at large retailers and increasingly so at smaller ones. Walgreens and The Home Depot often allocate more space for customers to check out by themselves than through cashier service lanes. Contactless payments increased 150% since 2019—and 87% of shoppers prefer it.
For retailers, which means dedicating new space for assisted checkout (ACO) technology while still offering traditional checkout lines. There always will be shoppers wanting help from associates in-person.
MONITOR RETAIL CONSTRUCTION
With 31% of brands planning to expand in the next year, commercial construction firms are in high demand. Since most renovation at retail calls for stores to stay open for business, the expertise and quality of general contractors must be unmatched.
The top builders have cameras on-site to monitor progress and highlight as virtual quality assurance. This helps to provide transparency between the GC and the client so there is trust during critical projects.
The Beam Team is an industry leader in remodeling retail chain stores—and video-capturing has long been a tradition. Video enables project managers on both sides to share and discuss progress and inspections.
If you seek an experienced commercial construction firm with national reach, contact The Beam Team at https://www.thebeamteam.com