Retailers have faced a mounting challenge since the massive success of Amazon has cut in-store sales dramatically. It has led many at the top of national chains to assess the way they are doing business. One area in particular that must be addressed to keep customers coming back is store design and decor. You can imagine that putting money into something that isn’t immediately affecting the bottom line is a tough pill to swallow, so in most cases that I have seen, maintaining a reasonable budget is very important. However, the last thing retail chains want is something that is cheap and won’t last. They want sustainable, durable, and cost effective.
To decide where to go with this decision, it is first important to understand where we’ve been with interior décor in retail in general. Keeping in theme with needing a value-engineered solution, retailers have been shying away from real stones, leathers, and woods for years. The solution, as it seemed, was high pressure laminate (HPL). The designs offered by HPL were (and are) plentiful. They offered a look that simulated the real thing, but at a fraction of the cost. The scratch resistance was great.
All seemed well, until the first customer came down the aisle haphazardly, with their kid tugging on their arm to request a trip to the toy section. And then, bam! It hit it exactly in the right place on the seam. That cart ran right into the brand new fixture that was designed to save money and look great. But now, the fixture was chipped, cracked, not looking quite as new. But, it’ll pass for now. Fast forward a year and take a look at that and all of the other fixtures that have been abused to the point of damaging the brand every time customers see it. Couple that with all of the fixtures that are just too badly beaten to even be seen in the store. They are lined up in the spare warehouse that used to be the garden center before that idea didn’t work out. There in an empty warehouse, lies thousands of dollars in investments, waiting for another several hundred dollar truck ride back to wherever they came from for preparation to sell to the highest bidder and be put into some lower end stores, or bought by a refurbisher and resold.
How could have this been prevented? If only that laminate wasn’t so rigid. If only there was no seam. In comes 3D laminate; it’s a more pliable laminate that can be formed around a smooth wooden core (in most cases, MDF) to eliminate the seam and dramatically improve impact resistance. What’s more, the wide array of design options remains. The texture options are more plentiful. The price point is the same. The amount of impact that would have cracked and chipped that old HPL fixture now only dents the fixture, at best.
So, how does one find this type of fixture? Can my normal fixture manufacturer use your material? In order to take advantage of the ability to go seamless, you just need to find a manufacturer with a vacuum or membrane press. In the U.S. alone, there are over 200 manufacturers with this potential. The material can also be applied to any flat surface to give you the impact resistance you desire on the face of the shelf or fixture; or, it can even be flat-laminated and miter-folded over the edge to eliminate the seam. This means, that most manufacturers can use a 3D laminate in such a way that will make your fixtures more protected from impact resistance.
If you would like more information on 3D laminate specification, designs trending in your market, or for technical data, feel free to reach out to me at 407-654-5013
Design Life blog
Color inspiration from around the world, backstories on design inspiration and informative articles about marketing, membrane pressing and personal development. Author Mark Viers delivers fresh content that will help you and your business grow and thrive.
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