• Change one thing at a time. Stolls suggested
testing a new concept in one store or department, and comparing results against those of
an unchanged store or department with similar
demographics—before going chain-wide.
• Give it time. Bisi notes that to get a proper
comparison between two spaces, “You need
to spend a year going through all of the selling
• Ask questions. Why would we want to place
a sign in this particular place on the floor? What’s
the ROI for that? What’s the IRR (internal rate of
• Consider predictive ROI. Nisch knows of
retailers that interview consumers every few
months to come up with predictive ROI (looking
forward 18 months) rather than measuring after
the fact. “This is an interesting approach, as we
may be doing things to help ROI in the short term
that may not be good for long-term ROI,” he said.
• Understand what the store’s goal is, and
measure results accordingly. If brand awareness
is the goal, sales figures won’t
tell you what you need to know.
“You need to count recall of
brand and other measures,”
says Andrade. These are factors that should be part of ROI
measurement, he said. “If looking at an ad for two seconds
counts as ROI for advertising,
spending an hour in a store
should count, too.”
• Investigate all the nuances
of the business. Gerdeman said it’s important to
ask questions of consumers. Understanding how
they make buying decisions and what influenced
them in the store from a design perspective can
help retailers make informed decisions.
• Realize that ROI is omnichannel. While the
debate rages between whether online or physical stores receive the credit for online sales,
online often gets the credit from an ROI standpoint, Nisch says. “But the store created the love.
“You need to
No one has created the language to talk about
the store’s role in omnichannel,” he said.
• Focus on the big picture. “Personnel need to
be coached by senior management to understand
investment decisions,” said Freibauer. While the
merchandise buyer may not see beyond individual products, senior managers are paid based on
overall store performance.
A.R.E. is planning a second ROI roundtable discussion during Retail Design
Collective in New York in December. In
addition to A.R.E. Retail Council members and DREAM Team (design firm)
members, A.R.E. is inviting industry professionals with pertinent expertise to
attend. Please contact Karen Schaffner,
for more information.
Karen Schaffner, Jo Rossman, and Tracy
Dillon contributed to this article.