variables and control of confounding variables to show trending and
For example, if the goal is to
increase average check size per
store visit, the study may focus on
the store’s interior and include a
cross analysis of building design,
display design, available inventory,
and sales records over the last four
months. If the study is carefully
designed, it will develop trending,
and the results will lead to the ideal
formula for the next design.
Some possible conclusions could
involve minimum amount of open
space around fixtures, identification of key lines of sight both
in-store and in-display, effective
lighting types and quantities, and
importance of fixture proximity to
fitting rooms, cashwraps, and store
Studies may include observation,
interviews, surveys, inventory, sales
data collection, literature reviews,
or a combination of methods. Once all data
is collected, it is analyzed for statistically
significant results. These results may affirm
a design concept or suggest improvements
for future designs, making EBD an evolutionary process with room for continued
development from one store to the next.
Results of studies may affirm a design concept or suggest
improvements for future designs, making EBD an evolutionary
process with room for continued development in store design.
not decreased. The retailer could
hire additional staff to address the
issue or could conduct an EBD study
to identify potentially less costly
alternatives. An EBD study may
reveal the need for readjustment of
material and equipment locations
within the cashwrap or a redistribution of employee responsibilities
or adjustments in store processes to
reduce likelihood of theft.
A potential design improvement
could include redefining the cashwrap size, shape, location, or even
the number of employee stations.
Another design improvement could
be an alteration of fixture layout or
type to make the space seem like it
would be too easy to witness a theft.
Identified potential design improvements will most likely benefit the
next design of a retail environment, unless the retailer chooses to
make an adjustment in the locations
where the study was conducted.
EBD AND THE BOT TOM LINE
Smaller footprints, more effective employees, and building designs that can impact
how a person shops can quickly translate
into improving the bottom line of a retail
environment. EBD offers a scientific and
statistical methodology to establish value
in retail store designs.
STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DATA
The study should encompass a large enough
sample size to generate statistically signifi-
cant results within an acceptable amount of
time. Statistically significant results show
trending and become a part of a data pool
used to develop conclusions.
Four key EBD applications
intended to improve a retail
environment’s bottom line
1 Reduce square footage.
2 Improve overall effectiveness
and efficiency of employees.
3 Confirm the value of environmental
sustainability measures used.
4 Positively impact and quantify
the customer experience.
GE T TING RESULTS
A well-defined and well-written research
plan will result in two types of applicable
conclusions: process improvements and
Process improvements will contribute
to the location where the study was conducted. For example, suppose a cashwrap is
designed to allow employees to keep track
of the fitting rooms and store entrances
while completing customer transactions.
The design intent was to help reduce theft,
but time has shown that theft rates have
Talking about ROI: This is the first in a series
of articles focusing on the return on investment
in retail environments. A.R.E. is pursuing a new
initiative to compile case studies illustrating the
ROI benefits of new store design, lighting, fixtures,
visual merchandising, in-store communications,
and more. Retailers, design firms, and A.R.E.
members that can provide information on projects
that have demonstrated measurable ROI are asked
to contact Karen Schaffner, karenschaffner@
Confidentiality requests will be honored.
Lisa A. Thompson, LEED AP
BD+C, EDAC, is a sustain-
ability and Evidence Based
Design expert at EcoScapes
Sustainability Solutions LLC,
a company focused on developing sustainable
designs and strategies for its clients. E-mail
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.