Fram oil filters created a classic TV commercial in the 1970s that concluded with a catchphrase: “Pay me now… or pay me later.” Either properly maintain your car with our oil filters or face expensive engine repairs in the future.
In other words, it’s smarter and more economical to do it right the first time. This applies to store design in spades.
We mention this retro ad because it’s similar to a refrain heard inside Miller Zell’s offices. Clients often come to us to rework a captivating but unworkable retail concept they had designed elsewhere.
How does this happen? A senior executive will fall in love with, say, beautiful wooden tables and elaborate fixtures without understanding costs, not only to purchase but also to ship and install. Another will become fixated on large digital kiosks that are fantastic in a one-off “store of the future,” but not so practical for 4,000 existing stores with a variety of footprints and diverse local customer tastes.
Some reading this might nod their heads. “Sure,” they’ll say. “Miller Zell is known for its nimbleness when manufacturing at scale. You guys are great with fixtures, print management, procurement, value engineering, project management and installations. But when it comes to retail design, we prefer specialists.”
Please, don’t say that to our 28-person design team, which is significantly larger than many of the so-called “specialists” we compete with for business.
Miller Zell employs an elite crew of talented, accomplished designers. They possess a diverse array of design specialties, ranging from interior to environmental to graphic to industrial to production art. We also own more than a half-century of experience producing outstanding retail design.
Moreover, Miller Zell designers possess a critical advantage over designers from other agencies. They get significant support from in-house retail research and strategy teams on the front end, and then they can receive guidance from engineers and procurement specialists on the backend. That means Miller Zell design starts with data and insights into what a specific retailer needs, and then the ensuing design process includes value engineering that ensures practicality and return on investment.
Retail design needs to solve problems (front end) and it needs to be on budget, on time and scalable (back end).
Beyond saving money, beginning the design process with Miller Zell saves time, which might even be more important. In today’s fast-moving retail environment, design ideas that get shelved for months or even a year risk losing their cutting-edge feel and become dated quicker.
If you want your store to serve shoppers in the way they want and need — not necessarily in the way that someone thinks is pretty — we’re the ones to give you the research, data and insights that our creative team will then translate for you.
Store design must be intentional and purposeful. It must reflect customer needs, reduce friction and improve the customer experience. It also needs to be scalable and produce a return on the retailer’s investment.
Miller Zell is more than happy to help retailers rework designs that proved impractical when it came time to execute a rollout.
That said, as the old Fram commercial notes, wise decisions on the front end tend to save retailers time and money on the back end.