Instore - June 2018 - 49
The focus of the supermarket is squarely on the perimeter. How can the look
and feel of the store reflect this?
by Ryan Atkinson
few points have been well established in today's supermarket
industry. You need to embrace the fresh perimeter as a way to
stand out from the pack, you absolutely must pay heed to the
time-starved shopper looking for a meal and you need to do so in a way
that creates an impactful experience.
says Deborah English, founder and president of D.L. English Design, a
California-based firm that counts Whole Foods, Bristol Farms and more
among its clients. "There's a demand for it to be a highly social space
and very experiential. You have to find a way to get people off their
couches and into their stores.
The fresh perimeter is king and shaping how stores act and feel now
and in the future.
"Heighten the experience inside the store to where they don't have to
come, but they want to come. That's the environment that we're trying
to create. It's the shift from 'have to' to 'want to' that's really driving what
But how does store design fit into all of this? Or, perhaps a better question: how does all of this fit into store design?
"Given that the center store is shrinking, fresh has the opportunity
to become animated," says Lewis Shaye, owner of Grocerant Design
Group. "You can really activate fresh to become theatrical and it can
take on a real personality for the store. And then we like to leverage
theatrics as part of an opportunity to grow guest satisfaction. We
connect with emotions and we try and use that connectivity to create
Everything from the store entrance to lighting to décor and materials
can work in unison to put the fresh perimeter in - pardon the pun - the
best light possible.
"There's this hybrid relationship created between food retail, foodservice and restaurants. The whole grocery experience is changing,"
Lighting the way
It might be the last thing a consumer notices, but it's arguably the most
important aspect of store design, especially when it comes to the
"A big piece of the puzzle is lighting," says Brad Knab, partner at
Wisconsin-based Mehmert Store Services. "Grocery stores in the past
have been about lights on and making everything bright so a consumer
can see everything. But with it being more of a feel and experience,
mood lighting is key. Subdued lighting that might highlight certain
areas and allow décor or materials within the design to speak to
Shaye doubles down on this point.
"Lighting is absolutely critical to creating emotional connections with
people," Shaye says. "In as much as the food offer is also paramount, I
would say that lighting is next to it in terms of importance. You can ruin
your entire offer with poor lighting."
What does he mean by poor lighting? For starters, lighting that is broadcast widely over a space creates no emotional connection, he says.
Dynamic lighting can create highs and lows. Appealing food can be
accentuated while empty space can fade into the background.
"We want our focus on our food, but we're not interested in focusing on
the floor," Shaye says. "We want to make the ceiling go away. We want
to put a hot spotlight shining on beautiful produce, but adjacent to that,
we may not want to show anything on the side of a counter."
Key words and phrases can be used to convey a sense of direction instead
of just simply naming departments.
instore * JUNE 2018 * 49