YESChef! Blog

Retail Flooring - The Retail Traps

Jack Josephsen

The search for a retail floor with the qualities highlighted in the previous email (What A Floor Can Do) can take you down a number of paths. Regardless of which one you choose, there are a few traps I’d like to warn you about to help achieve the best result.

An eye to the future

With the need to keep refreshing shop appearances in step with the retail floor churn, it pays to keep an eye on the future when selecting a floor for now. The fact is you can save a lot of future pain by putting something down that won’t lead to headaches later on. For instance, if you’re not thrilled with the idea of ripping up tiles in 5-7 years then would it be wise to go there now? Likewise, the ultra smooth, hard finish of polished concrete can last a long time, but if you need a change it can be a tricky surface to work with as far as other flooring styles are concerned.

Something different and more than once with retail floors

With ample evidence pointing at a move towards greater individuality in retail flooring, a customised product should also be highly sought after. Of particular note here are the resin-based metallic finishes because while a few companies are doing brilliant floors in this field, not all of them can deliver something just for you. If a large chain wants the same retail floor in all stores, genuine reproducibility is another thing not everyone can offer and has to be ticked off from the start.

Hold off on shop floors

Another trap many fall into with retail floors is the timing when it comes to new fit outs. I understand the complexities involved in organising all the trades within customarily tight schedules, however installing a shop floor too early in the piece can be a big mistake. The movement of heavy items, dropped tools and abrasive dust can severely damage a new floor no matter how many sheets are laid or careful the workers are. If you want a retail floor to look its best come opening day, it must be the last piece of the puzzle rather than the first.

Retail floor dirtied by traffic before it had a chance to fully harden.

To finish up, I’ll leave you with a few tips on resin flooring specifically. All the stuff you may have already read on quality resin flooring in this blog applies to retail as well. If I was looking at resin floor for my shop floor, I would start with good wear and stain resistance that is easy to clean; something that won’t disappear in 12 months or be ruined the first time a child drops their frozen coke. I would also want a product that manages the effects of UV somehow to minimise yellowing and fading at entrance ways.

Retail floor at the entrance to a shop with ugly staining visible.

If you have any questions about the traps for retail floors, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.

Retail Flooring - What A Floor Can Do

Jack Josephsen

To summarise the retail floor series so far, we’ve pointed out the popular concrete finishes are now reaching the end of their first lifecycle (New Trend Emerging) and may be causing a retail design re-think based on recognised visual marketing principles (Grab The Customer).

While there’s been a lot of talk about appearances and how important they are in attracting customers, it only touches on the wider role retail floors can play. It’s not very helpful to say dull, lifeless floors aren’t what you want in a retail setting because anyone can see that. The much harder task is to piece together what a retail floor should offer and that’s what I’ll get to now.

Open your mind with shop floors

The first piece of advice is to never underestimate the impact a retail floor can have. The right floor can modernise, brighten and open up a room in addition to looking fantastic itself. By settling for the easy option of neutral tiles or polished concrete, you could miss the opportunity to give the shop what it really needs. Don’t get me wrong, tiles and concrete can be the perfect fit in the right shop, but the “right shop” isn’t every shop as recent history may suggest.

Retail floor in a light grey colour creating a much lighter, warmer feel.

Don’t forget about colour for retail floors

I think the reason why the current trend has been so strong is because the power of colour in retail flooring has been forgotten. The market has been seduced by the ease and perceived versatility of concrete finishes and is missing out on the opportunity to promote their brand or even influence the customer just as NeuroRelay spoke about. Never forget, a retail floor can be so much more than just a hard surface to walk on!

A retail floor with fiery red colours that match the store brand.

More strings to the bow

That last piece of advice is that selection of retail flooring shouldn’t stop at pretty colours or brand promotion because they can perform other roles as well. In particular, colour coding and line marking for shopper navigation is a big focus of visual marketing strategies, while the safety factor can’t be ignored either. Anti-slip texture is an obvious one here, however even a lighter, cleaner surface can play a part in better safety through the easier detection of spills and other slip hazards.  

If you have any questions about other roles retail flooring can play, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.

Retail Flooring - Grab The Customer

Jack Josephsen

The current retail flooring predicament (New Trend Emerging) really started to sink in while working with a number of shops in Surfers Paradise recently and it sparked a lot of personal research into the fascinating topic of visual marketing. The saturation of concrete finishes had sown the seeds of desire for greater individuality, but I wanted to explore what else really mattered in this field. In other words, what did effective visual marketing tell me about retail flooring design?  

Appearance rules in retail flooring

Most specifiers wouldn’t be surprised to hear the majority of articles I found were all about appearance. The passage that really grabbed me, however, was a February 2014 post on the Retail Economic Times blog, which said “Studies indicated that a retailer has roughly seven seconds to capture the attention of a passing customer. Numerous elements combine to form a distinctive identifiable store name, a powerful visual trademark, an unmistakable storefront, an inviting entrance and a consistent and compelling store look and hook.” 

The reason it resonated so much was the direct link to what so many stores were now facing with aged concrete finishes.  Would these retail floors tick all the boxes above once they reached a certain age? Would the dull and sometimes dirty look work against them?  

A May 2011 article on the website didn’t paint an encouraging picture either for these shop floors when it said “One-half of consumers (52 percent) have avoided a business all together because it looked dirty from the outside...Nearly all shoppers (95 percent) say that exterior appearance is important in their selection of a place to shop.”

Retail flooring graph showing appearance of shopfront can drive customers away.

Colours influence in retail design

It’s clear that having an unattractive storefront, of which a floor makes up a big part, is a no-no when it comes to visual marketing. On the flip side, what is considered good retail design practice? Once again the articles were almost unanimous; this time in the opinion that colour was the most influential factor. Experts on consumer psychology, NeuroRelay, suggest “85% of shoppers place colour as a primary reason for why they buy a particular product.”

Retail flooring table showing the influence colours have on shopper behaviour.

While it might seem like I’m picking on concrete finishes, it’s definitely not my intention. The fact is though, through their immense popularity, they have gradually created a retail flooring landscape seemingly at odds with certain marketing principles. As I have done a number of times already in this blog, I’m simply trying to point out there’s no such thing as the right floor for every application.

If you have any questions about grabbing the customer’s attention with retail flooring, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.

Retail Flooring - New Trend Emerging

Jack Josephsen

The retail flooring market is entering an intriguing phase. Concrete finishes all the rage five years ago are coming to the end of their first lifecycle (or “churn” as it’s known) and retailers are now faced with the question “Do we go again?” 

Retail flooring not as polished

There are any number of factors that come into play here, however many people with the polished, worn or uncoated concrete look are noticing the same thing – over time these floors can end up looking lifeless, and at worst, perhaps even a touch dirty. In the highly competitive retail sector, these clearly aren’t the words you want to hear.

To see firsthand what I’m talking about, you only need to go as far as the nearest major shopping centre and the loads of once sparkling floors now fading into the background. We’ll get into this more during the next email, but studies suggest you have seven seconds to capture the customer’s attention as they walk by. That’s it. If shop floors don’t age well, it could end up costing the businesses money!

Retail floor with a concrete finish looking dull and dirty.

Forcing a retail flooring re-think

What I predict this current situation will do is cause a shift away from the one-size-fits-all approach for retail floor design. While the concrete look will still be popular and a good choice for some shops, it will no longer be the default option. Many who went down that path will now be more knowledgeable with the style and better placed to decide if it’s the best way forward this time.

Retail floor with a concrete finish looking aged. 

First impressions must be good

We’re already seeing evidence of this thinking in the early part of the new cycle, with owners and specifiers showing a stronger desire to stand out from the crowd with retail designs that fit the brand and colour schemes better. In the changing world of retail, where stores are now faced with competition online as well, making a good impression will be more important than ever. “Excite, entertain and be different” were the words from the Westfield Senior Retail Design Manager at a recent presentation I attended for the $450 million re-development of their Garden City complex in Brisbane.

If you have any questions about the new trend emerging in retail flooring, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.