open store remodels

5 Steps for Successful Open Store Remodels

When the time comes to rebrand, refresh, or reconfigure your locations, open store remodels help you maintain sales and operations with minimal impact on your customers. But how you execute matters.

Wherever you are in the country, you’ve likely seen a variety of store and restaurant refresh programs being implemented. In particular, quick-serve restaurant brands have been refreshing locations nationwide to take advantage of modern design trends that appeal to multiple audiences, new technologies that make order management more efficient, and other changes that came about as a result of the pandemic.

Major retailers are also implementing brand refresh programs, one major grocer is completing 78 store improvement programs (54 of which were remodel initiatives), across the Southeast U.S. and planning another 50 throughout 2022. Another Southern U.S. grocery brand recently completed upgrades to 87 supermarkets to expand its offerings.

Restaurants and retailers aren’t the only industries implementing brand refresh programs throughout their footprint, however. Hospitality brands are also giving locations a facelift, with The Courtyard by Marriott already 60 properties into a multi-year refresh program that’s expected to see hundreds more updated by 2024 across the U.S. and Canada.

Across these industries and many others, the need for periodic refreshes is evident. They help you maintain your connection with customers and patrons, support your established yet evolving brand message, and ensure you remain competitive in your space. However, conducting programs such as these has the potential to impact your bottom line due to store closures, reduced capacity for foot traffic, or reduced space for inventory.

Because of this, every effort should be made to conduct open store remodels when possible. But executing a multi-site refresh or remodel program is no easy feat — even less so when you want to keep those locations open for customers. Here, we’ll explore five steps that can help you implement a successful brand update across multiple locations while keeping them open for customers to continue shopping.

1. Determine Project Scope and the Viability of Open Store Remodels

The first step is to map out what you’re looking to achieve with your refresh or remodel program. Are you trying to make your spaces more contemporary to leverage the latest design, sustainability, and customer experience trends? Do you need to replace aging, outdated, or damaged fixtures, surfaces, or finishes? Depending on what you’re looking to implement, open store remodels may be possible — or they might not. If you need to completely revitalize your spaces, such as by removing and replacing flooring, lighting systems, or electrical or plumbing systems, then locations will most likely need to be closed while work progresses.

At Stratus, we work with each client to map out the scope of work, identifying all possibilities before the program starts. This allows us to plan open store remodels accordingly and minimize the impact on sales. Learn how we helped automotive services brand Goodyear implement a new lighting program without impacting operations.

Go Deeper: Learn if open store remodels are right for your brand (with examples).

2. Set the Timeline and Rollout Strategy

If your brand implementation program allows for open store remodels, it’ll be important to set a specific timeline (and deadline) for the work to be completed at each site. Even though your locations will be open while work is happening, it can quickly become frustrating and burdensome for shoppers to have to listen to construction sounds, navigate around equipment, or not have access to specific areas of the store. It can also become difficult for employees who might have to oversee or coordinate with contractors during work periods. Ideally, work will be scheduled around peak hours such as in early mornings, nights, or other low-traffic periods.

Additionally, a detailed, thorough rollout strategy should be developed that identifies how new brand assets are being procured, where they’re being stored until they’re needed, how they’re being routed to your locations, and who is responsible for installation. Mapping this out in-depth prior to the program beginning will save all parties significant time and resources and help to prevent headaches once the program is underway.

In addition to managing open store remodels and supporting how customers and employees can continue to engage with locations, Stratus manages all aspects of each program from start to finish — including the brand assets themselves. Our manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, and installation capabilities ensure you have a single partner overseeing your program from end to end, saving you from dealing with more parties than needed, streamlining how your physical brand assets are handled, and expediting the program overall.

Be Proactive: Learn what causes multi-site rebranding failures — and how to avoid them.

3. Implement at Scale and Adjust Where Needed

Once the details have been established and timelines have been set for implementation, it’ll be time to execute your refresh or remodel program throughout your footprint. Multiple locations must be tackled at once to ensure you’re able to hit your overall program deadline. Locations with open store remodels must be monitored closely to ensure work is progressing at the desired pace. If any issues arise, it’ll be essential to adjust rapidly to prevent any impact on your customers and sales. Communication between you and your brand implementation partner should be frequent during this stage with careful consideration given to how open store remodels are impacting operations. Changes should be implemented quickly.

To ensure refresh and remodel programs are executed at scale quickly and efficiently, Stratus works with a nationwide network of field partners that have proven themselves time and time again. Coupled with our unmatched program management capabilities and technology resources, you’ll never be in the dark about where your program stands. We set frequent touchpoints to review progress and bring any issues to your attention right away along with a proposed solution to keep the program moving forward without delays.

Solution-Focused: Learn how the Stratus team rapidly addressed unforeseen challenges with a major remodel for a home goods brand.

4. Leverage This Opportunity to Take Your Brand Further

While not critical to the success of open store remodels, every brand implementation program should seek to maximize its impact. If you’re executing a refresh or remodel program, it’s important to look at the entirety of each location to see what can be improved. Take exterior lighting for example. While an interior and exterior remodel program makes the physical store itself more appealing and on-brand, what does the lighting in your parking lot say about your brand? Is it properly lit, helping customers and employees feel safe during evening hours? Is it using the latest LED technology to reduce its energy footprint, thereby supporting your sustainability and energy utilization goals?

With a refresh and remodel program comes an opportunity to make your locations say more to your customers. Parking lot lighting, exterior building lighting, and illuminated signage all contribute to the brand experience. Additionally, brand update programs like these are great opportunities to improve data technology, control systems, and other aspects of your facilities. As your brand implementation team, Stratus will help you maximize the impact of your brand while providing you with estimates for long-term savings and payback periods for each location.

Get the Facts: Download a copy of our energy solutions fact sheet.

5. Report Success and Communicate Impact

A key part of open store remodels is letting your customers and employees know why you’re doing them. Your refresh or remodel program should tell patrons that you’re still there to support them, serving as a pillar of the community. It should tell them that you’re undergoing this effort to ensure they have access to the products and goods that they need to live their lives. To do this, work with your brand implementation partner on solutions that share this message. This might include temporary signage, digital graphics, and other solutions that say you’re open for business and what the result of their patience will be: a completely new shopping experience.

Along the way, it’ll be essential for you to be able to report progress internally. Having access to estimates, invoices, scopes of work, receipts, energy documentation, warranties, rebate information, and multiple other program resources will help you inform leaders of where the program stands and how work is progressing. At Stratus, we make this information readily available to you through our client portal along with customized reporting. And your program management team will be there to support you with services that help you communicate the impact of open store remodels and the brand refresh program overall.

Experiences Delivered: Explore our refresh and remodel work for major brands nationwide.

A Successful Brand Refresh Program Starts with Stratus

Built on a 150-year legacy of brand implementation excellence, Stratus has been helping some of the largest, most recognized brands in the country revitalize their brands across all their locations quickly and efficiently. With a full portfolio of capabilities, dedicated account management teams, and a relentless commitment to the success of your brand program, we’re the team you need to update your brand with a proven strategy and process for open store remodels.

Connect with us now to plan your next refresh or remodel program.