24 | www.retailenvironments.org RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS march.2015
zones, and different textures on furniture,”
he explains. “Pillows on the sofa perhaps
didn’t appear in a bank 10 years ago. But
now they create a warm and welcoming
tone. It’s like sitting in your living room, in
some cases, to talk to your banker.”
Everhardt points out that some banks
are taking things a step further and emu-
lating retailers by employing design ele-
ments that engage all of the senses. “The
sound, your eyesight, what you hear,
feel—all your touchpoints throughout the
space—are in tune, and there’s signature
moments throughout the space as you walk
Little’s design team asks clients a series
of detailed questions to refine the customer
experience and drive the design process,
• When customers are at a particular
location within the branch, what should
they be seeing, feeling, hearing?
• What materials should be in this space?
• Should they be standing? Should there
be a chair nearby?
• Where should they have visual access
to somebody if they need help?
• Should they have views to the outside?
Should the space be more enclosed?
Designers repeat the process for each
One size does not fit all
area along the customer journey. Everhardt
says the process helps shape a complete
vision for what the bank wants customers
In spite of the common themes emerging in
bank design, branches may look, feel, and
operate differently (even within the same
brand) based on market demographics.
While a more relaxed, inviting design aesthetic may be mutual, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.
“There are so many differences from
one market to the next. Those differences
should be respected because what’s good
in one community isn’t good for the next,”
says Everhardt. She adds that in smaller
rural areas, where bank employees and
customers may know each other, personal
conversations may precede business transactions. These branches should have more
areas for seating and personal engagement.
In contrast, busy downtown areas may
need faster response times, so self-service
tools are a more appropriate solution.
Ultimately, banks want a retail exper-
ience that is consistent regardless of loca-
tion and shares the same basic building
blocks, but is flexible enough to accom-
modate regional differences and con-
“Every branch will be a little bit differ-
ent,” says Ehscheid. “Like most retailers,
we’ll have a standard prototype, a kit of
parts that we can deploy to accommo-
date different types of environments. We
work with our internal teams to determine
where the branches go, and then position
them appropriately in each marketplace.
We want a consistent experience across the
Banks are fluid organizations that need
to adapt—perhaps not as quickly as a fash-
ion boutique, but they must still respond to
customer needs, Ehscheid notes. “We, like a
retailer, are constantly shifting the way our
branches look,” he says. “We may not have
the ability to put out the cool new sweater,
but we can shift the functionality of the
branch on a relatively short cycle. As we
continue to define what customers want,
we can present the array of services in an
environment that allows our associates to
present them in a positive light.”
Robert Nieminen is
editor-at-large for Interiors
& Sources magazine. He has
covered commercial interiors
continued from page 20
TD Bank’s Canton Crossing store
features a more compact 2,275-sq.-ft.
layout with year-round, 24/7 live