As the retail landscape continues to adapt to new technologies and customer preferences, shared retail spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Not only are smaller retail concepts able to find their start by sharing the overhead costs associated with operating on the high street with other businesses but even larger, country-wide brands are merging their retail spaces with complementary businesses.
Historically, retailers have been able to design and manage their own retail ventures with solely their own brand and service in mind. However, as their spaces begin to overlap and even support other concepts, these designs must change. Often, there is a struggle for space and retailers must make compromises to manage certain venues, taking on creative store design decisions.
A popular direction for businesses sharing retail spaces is that of modular design. Retail furniture that can be shifted and adapted, often quickly, is perfect for multi-business spaces. Shop shelving assets, such as collapsable and easily moveable furniture, are sought after as they allow businesses to accommodate their needs to a significant variety of spaces, making particular use of limited floor plans. Additionally, as individual concepts change their layouts and products, other businesses are able to adapt their own, allowing for potential space to constantly be used to its fullest extent.
A shared retail space for smaller businesses especially benefits from such forward-thinking design too, since the motivation for occupying a single venue is the associated financial savings. These retail spaces have the potential to be further from the high street and not always accommodating for retailers, with essential compromises being made. Such spaces, whether those with low ceilings or compact floor plans, can be optimised to ensure that retail impact is limited.
Retailers have undoubtedly benefited from technological advancements, whether it is for security purposes, the better containment of shop fittings, or the efficiency of customer checkout. Now, as transactions and personalised shopping experiences become more easily implemented than ever, retailers operating in shared spaces are able to do so with greater ease.
Transactions, for example, no longer require large till systems or even huge counter space. Contactless card transactions can be consolidated into compact devices that can be easily moved and used around the venue. With simplified digital interfaces, such as those on tablets and even phones, multiple retail concepts can even share the same point of sale system, minimising the potential capacity for a checkout space even further.
While shared retail spaces are often motivated by practical purposes, brands must also work in tandem with one another. Those that become more successful are, generally, those that operate and complement each other’s businesses well. This means that not only are businesses able to share their associated brand identity, those of quality and principles, but also offer services that meet customer needs, such as a hairdresser alongside a clothing store or a computer repair business sharing retail space with a computer vendor.
These individual businesses are further amplified and merged when staff are also able to promote their retail counterparts, emphasising a focus of separate retailers operating as a single, larger business.