.Here at LEVEL5, we know how to design and build branches, but you knew that already.

What you may not know is, while we’re experts at retail banking, we also stay up-to-date with design in general. We look at trends and take inspiration from hotels, bars, restaurants, clothing stores, and yes, big box retailers like Target.

In a recently published article from Fast Company (https://www.fastcompany.com/90103087/how-target-is-redesigning-to-take-on-amazon), Target has begun to outline what their next wave of store design will look like, but more specifically, how the design is giving way to the overall customer experience.

While the root of Target’s strategies are a direct reaction to the influence of Amazon and digital shoppers, here, we’re going to look at the three main design strategies from the retail banking lens and how these concepts could be interpreted in a new branch design.

A TALE OF TWO STORES

What Target Is Doing

Having two main entries is nothing new for Target, or even the likes of Walmart. When you have stores in excess of 100,000 square feet, two main entries is a no-brainer. The new store designs, however, will utilize the two different entry points into what strategically translates into two different stores under one roof.

If you frequent a Target nowadays, you likely know the overall store layout and which door to enter. Groceries, pharmacy, electronics, clothing, etc, all have a place in the overall planogram and you enter a given door based on ease of access to that department.

Now, Target is splitting up the store by intent. Do you want to browse or do you want to grab-n-go?

The difference here is between wether you want to spend some time and discover or whether you know exactly what you need to do. If you want the latter, you want it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Translating This Into Retail Branching Terms

So, how does this now bifurcation in the customer shopping experience translate to the branch?

In today’s typical retail model, the branch has single door entry (on occasion two). The “transact zone” is the strategic anchor of a branch design and often at the center of the branch. Whether it be a traditional teller line or the more modern Teller Pods with Cash Recyclers, this “cash in, cash out” mechanism is seen as the primary reason for foot traffic. It is positioned as the first thing a customer sees upon entry.

Look at the new Target design and how it can translate to the branch. Layer on the how COVID-19 influenced change in the branch. It is not too difficult to see how a line in the sand can be drawn between delivering on a customer experience rooted in two notions of intent.

Grab-N-Go = Transact

With two strategically oriented hemispheres in the branch, the cash transaction would move to one side of the branch. It would no longer be the center focal point. It can still be positioned well enough for ease and good line of sight upon entry. By moving it to one side of the branch, however, it eliminates any cross pollination of those visiting the branch for non-transactional services.

Browse = Advise

Even before COVID-19 hit, the branch was undergoing a transformation. Digital transactions were on the rise. While the need for the neighborhood branch was still strong, these centers were proving to be more advisory and anchors for account creation instead of cash transactional.

To this end, the other side of this assumptive branch design would see a more advisory and “browse oriented” strategy. Customers can enter the branch, speak to a Universal Teller, discuss their financial needs, discover products and services though technology, and not worry about the short-lived nature of a transactional visit.

A MODERN DESIGN

What Target Is Doing

As described in the article, the new Target stores will take a more modern approach than before. They will migrate away from the old-school “warehouse” style that Walmart still deploys.

Expect to see more natural design elements, with woods, neutral and natural tones. You might even see stone in addition to some of the classic elements still needed in a big box store.

Translating This Into Retail Branching Terms

While a more modern design is nothing new for branches, this design move further solidifies the overall design aesthetic evolution happening in retail, but for banks, it also further solidifies the old, dark oak look and feel of a bank branch is a thing of the past.

Nearly all of our designs these days can be labeled “modern” – with natural earth tones either being the primary style, as seen in our work with Northeastern Credit Union, or where earth tones are a highlight of the overall design, as seen in our recent work with Champion Credit Union.

CURBSIDE

What Target Is Doing

Target is doubling down on the idea of curbside, where orders can be made online. Time-crunched shoppers can pull up to a designated spot and have orders brought out to them without leaving the car.

While many Targets already do this,

Translating This Into Retail Branching Terms

We have already spoken about the rise of Curbside at the branch, and this further solidifies the notion that there is very much a play for a Curbside feature at a branch.

When you factor in the overall customer experience, the need for speed and efficiency, and you sprinkle in a little bit of COVID-19’s legacy in retail, converting some existing parking spaces into a Curbside function featuring ITM’s makes a lot of sense.

You can still deliver on the cash transaction needs, but introduce video chat with Universal Tellers inside the branch. They can even come out to the car and meet customers for a handful of needs. It is a tremendous way to continually evolve the branch.

If you want to learn more about how design can help elevate your overall branch, contact us today.