In these halcyon days of the digital age, the retail market might be changing faster than any other. There’s a lot of talk about how to compete with online retailers, and these conversations have been shaping grocery stores. Some have opted to follow the Trader Joe’s strategy: low square-footage, fewer options, and private-label products to encourage customers to shop and shop again. Others have been employing the experiential retail strategy: provide human connection, create experiences (in-store restaurants, etc.), and make the shopping experience memorable. The floors you want to consider for your grocery store, then, change drastically depending on your overall marketing plan.
Stores that try to follow the Trader Joe’s strategy will most likely be interested in relatively low-cost flooring systems. The experience isn’t quite as valuable here – that is to say, the experience you want to deliver is low-cost, high-quality wares. This is a game of margins, after all. That said, you still won’t want to use unfinished concrete floors; this isn’t a warehouse model. You’ll want to opt for flooring systems that provide bacteria resistance, as well as heat resistance if you have any kind of in-house bakery (a bit rare in these types of spaces). You’ll definitely want slip resistance in wet areas, too. A great option that covers you for all of these fronts is epoxy flooring; they can be put over concrete substrate at a great rate, and can be imbued with all of the features listed above. The flooring doesn’t need to be particularly decorative; one or two nice colours, and you’re good to go.
Those looking for experiential retail are going to want to vary their flooring quite a bit more. Aesthetics are much more important for these locations; at best, you want people posting pictures of your beautiful store on Instagram. There are a few ways we can use flooring to help achieve this effect. The first is to vary the colour and patterns of your floor. The entranceway, for example, could have terrazzo flooring (one of the most durable flooring types) – a particularly dazzling first sight to greet shoppers. Each different section of the store could have a different colour of flooring, which provides two advantages: an impressive mosaic of colour, and a functional colour system to help customers navigate.
Navigation is the “hidden mode” of flooring people often neglect. You can create a map that colour-codes each section of your store, then create flooring that matches the colours on the map. Neat queues are aesthetically pleasing, and they make shopping easier; you can use coloured flooring to create queue lines by the cashier, so people know exactly where to line up. For sales floors and restaurant areas, you can use polished concrete in order to create a sophisticated look, low life cycle cost and easy to maintain. When it comes to flooring and aesthetics, the only limit is your imagination; we can create works of art out of flooring, using patterns and colours to make images as well.
We’re a specialized industrial flooring contractor based in Winnipeg, so we understand how variable climate can affect flooring. We make slip-resistant floors to increase safety in stores, and our flooring systems can be very easy to clean – we’ll give you tips on how to do it. The retail space is changing rapidly, and there are some game-changing ways you could use flooring to get ahead; be the first to employ these strategies, and you’ll reap the benefits!