Comments provided by David Bigland, managing director at Moduleo UK and Eire.
- What have been the biggest changes in interior design in the retail sector over the last 12 months?
The internet has obviously had a huge impact on the retail sector in recent years, with more and more companies opting for experience stores and creating a pleasant environment for their customers than ever before.
With this in mind, we have worked with a number of our retail clients on creating innovative spaces for their customers. For some, we have provided a blank canvas for them to go on to develop the space, while with others we have worked on a more bespoke design to create a real focal point within the store.
Retailers are constantly refreshing their stores to ensure that the design reflects their products, which is why we’re always investing in our factories and producing new and innovative solutions. In 2016 alone, we will be investing $200 million into our facilities in Europe and the US – which reinforces our commitment to providing the best and latest products for our customers.
Our brand-new Moduleo Moods collection is our latest offering and provides our clients with a creative studio in which they can combine ten flooring formats to create up to 110 unique wood and stone-effect designs.
Moduleo Moods is due to launch later this year, and after the recent response we received at the Retail Design Expo, we’re anticipating the collection to be a real hit within this sector.
- What are the main considerations for clients in this sector?
Zoning is key in retail, and the fact that we have a portfolio of brands and a catalogue of products to suit just about any environment, has been imperative in selling our products to retail designers and specifiers.
Zoning is also key for stores which need to encompass various concessions, such as a department store displaying a wide variety of brands, or a supermarket featuring a butchers, deli, and bakery etc. alongside the main grocery department.
The selection of designs we have available is practically limitless as designers are becoming increasingly imaginative with the looks and effects that they create. This means that LVT can be equally as effective in a modern, minimalist clothing store as it can in a rustic furniture outlet, or even a large supermarket.
The right flooring has the capability to create a certain mood and atmosphere within a retail environment. Meaning, flooring has the power to speed a customer up or slow them down subconsciously if there is a specific part of the store that the designer wishes to focus on. With this in mind, flooring can be integral to making a sale or showcasing a hero product in the best possible light
It is also worth noting that, depending on the type of business we’re working with, value for money tends to be high up on the agenda. For instance, if it’s a small independent retailer, they’re often looking for a good investment that will last as it’s their money they’re spending – and of course if we’re working with a well-known high street retailer, such as Ikea or F&F, enhancing sales and return on investment is too a priority.
In addition to the products we have available within the Moduleo product portfolio, our sister brand, Itec, has a huge collection of products ideal for back of house. This means that we’re able to offer a full rounded solution for designers and specifiers alike.
- What are the benefits of LVT for a retail environment?
As technology has evolved, LVT has swiftly overtaken traditional flooring solutions due to its capacity to better-accomodate the latest trends in interior design, whilst also providing the most practical and durable solution.
The beauty of modern LVT technology is that flooring can be created to be almost indistinguishable in appearance from its natural counterpart.
Luxury vinyl flooring from Moduleo responds extremely well to wear and tear, and this is definitely where we are market leading. It is very low-maintenance and almost effortless to clean, making it ideal for use in retail environments.
Also, all of our products are exhaustively tested and have achieved an anti-slip rating of R10; certifying that they are safer underfoot than most real wood and stone products.
As a result of the benefits that come with LVT, more designers are now opting for this option over real wood and stone. In fact, we recently worked on a project for F&F Clothing’s Kensington store, and the on-trend finish, price, look and availability that come with luxury vinyl were all credited as the reasoning behind their choice.
- How important is flexibility within this sector?
Flexibility with layout options is key within the retail sector. More and more designers within this sector are looking to create bespoke looks that reflect the brand/product they’re showcasing.
While some designers are looking for a blank canvas that is durable, hardwearing and long-lasting to handle the thousands of people that visit the store year-on-year, others are looking for a more unique look for an intimate environment, and LVT is ideal for both.
Our Moduleo Moods collection offers unrivalled flexibility and the opportunity to create just about any image or pattern within the flooring, thanks to the formats we have available.
- What is the average replacement cycle for a floor in the retail sector?
The lifespan of a floor in the retail sector averages at around seven years – which is very much the norm when it comes to real wood or stone.
However, as LVT is much more durable and hardwearing, it is likely to last much longer. As such, we’re so confident that our flooring can stand the test of time – even within areas that experience such high levels of footfall, that all of our commercial products come with at least a ten-year guarantee.
- At what point in the design process do retailers tend to specify their flooring?
From previous experience, our retail clients usually specify their flooring very early on in the project – especially the type they’re going to go for.
The colour however is often selected at a later date, once the overall theme of the project has been decided on – and as we have such a large portfolio of products at Moduleo, there is something to suit just about any environment.
- How can flooring assist in the interior design of retail environments?
Flooring is often considered part of the fabric of the building and imperative in creating the right ambience.
Obviously flooring is a commodity, but in the retail sector it’s imperative that it works as a canvas for interior designers to build upon, and to ensure that the product on show always remains king.