6 December 2019 How to think about commercial projects aimed at retail
Commercial architecture has its segmentations as it is designed to serve a specific market niche. When we think about the retail sector, some aspects of the project are enriched by the strong appeal of marketing in stores. It is necessary to expand knowledge to be able to move more safely in the fields of marketing, merchandising and the relationship that is intended to be established with the target audience of each store.
To help us better understand this very promising segment, we invite the architect and urban planner Gabriel Bachilli, who has experience in serving major retail brands. Below you will find an exclusive interview he gave us.
Lorí Crízel – How has your experience serving large retail brands been?
Gabriel Bachilli – I have been working primarily with retail since my training, even without having had this approach in the school of architecture, which possess a generalist core, and not a specialist one. In other words, the market has been my school. From the beginning, I started working on projects for large companies, retail chains with a significant number of stores. In these networks, everything is very standardized. The architect is provided with a pre-format that he needs to follow. The larger the network, the more materials are available to provide the architect with input to set up his project. They are very well founded manuals of projects and of details of environments. The more organized the company, the lower the degree of intervention of the architect in the project, because everything is pre-established. Sometimes the architect’s job is to find technical and executive solutions for what is pre-established by the company and adapt it to the location where the new store will be opened.
Lorí Crízel – Did you seek to nourish yourself with other types of knowledge to serve this segment more assertively?
Gabriel Bachilli – By directly serving the retail area, I sought to deepen my knowledge of marketing and visual design, as they are closely linked to commercial architecture. All that part that applies directly to the point of sale, as there is an obvious need to communicate messages. My experience in this area is more focused on stores that serve large audiences, so they are stores that have a load of figurative information, in the sense of using more images and texts to the detriment of architectural elements that can help to make sense. Verbal communication is stronger in this segment.
Lorí Crízel – How do you work institutional messages in the design of a retail chain?
Gabriel Bachilli – In the commercial architecture focused on retail, we work with the institutional setting, that is, the one that conveys the messages that the company wants to pass, always focused on the checkout area, to impact the customer at the moment he is completing the purchase. He must receive these messages before leaving the store. Thus, we work with elements of the brand identity, we appeal to a different color, for the application of the logo, and even a catch phrase in this environment.
Lorí Crízel – How do brands make the insertion of other professionals to assist in architectural projects?
Gabriel Bachilli – This varies greatly depending on the size of the company. The smaller its size, the greater the contact we will have with the commercial area, marketing and even store managers. On the other hand, we receive less information already systematized, which is the great asset of large networks. That is why the study is essential for the architect to be able to infer a series of concepts that are often not evident. Customers who are not yet professionalized from the point of view of the physical space of the store, the importance of architecture and design, still work empirically. Often, stores behave like living organisms, seen as a lot is tested through changes in layout and showcases in search of increased sales.
Lorí Crízel – How did you organize your office to provide service to this segment?
Gabriel Bachilli – We work hard with the introduction of design in architectural design. When we introduced the design, the results were very positive. From there, we managed to considerably expand our portfolio. Architecture gains a lot by allying itself with design. Architecture needs to work together with the designer and visual merchandiser to get the most out of commercial projects. Even because there is no point in having a beautiful store from an architectural point of view if it does not contribute to the sale. If there is no correct product display.
Lorí Crízel – In your personal search for a greater understanding of all aspects involving commercial projects, how have studies on neuromarketing contributed to the enrichment of your projects?
Gabriel Bachilli – As I deal quite a lot with visual design, I often had to create promotional spaces, to think about its arrangement at the point of sale, at what material it would be applied, which verbal and non-verbal languages would be used, among other details. From then on, and having in mind the extraction of as many advantages as possible for these spaces, we began to seek in these studies the meaning of colors, application of a type of color for a certain type of audience. For example: if it is a store for a more dynamic audience, we will work with more vivid colors. If I want to create an environment in which I want to establish a proximity with the client, I use a cursive font. As this form of writing refers to what is familiar, handmade. And that changes the consumer’s perception of the point of sale.
About Gabriel Bachilli:
Gabriel Bachilli is an Architect and Urbanist from UFPel – Federal University of Pelotas. Specialist in MBA Engineering and Architecture Project Management – IPOG. Partner and director of projects at AC + ACMA Arquitetura e Design Visual, in Porto Alegre/RS. He works with management and small to large projects in the area of commercial architecture, focusing on retail and services, specifically super and hypermarkets, restaurants, stores, corporate offices, and distribution centers, serving the main retail chains in the country.