The UPS Store has launched a retail redesign, the first major change to its store layout in about 20 years, and a push guided by the rise of e-commerce.
Compared with the previous design, the new stores are more open in their layout to highlight the breadth of services, boast brighter color and lighting, and feature more digital elements than ever before.
“In a rapidly changing business environment, The UPS Store seeks to create a place where business happens in real time,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store. “We’re elevating the retail experience to cater to today’s small-business owner and consumer, while helping drive growth and profitability for our network of franchise owners.”
The new in-store experience for The UPS Store network resembles a contemporary open- concept workshop, with light-industrial design elements and visible work areas that invite customers to easily navigate the store and interact with associates. In addition, the redesign includes an option to include 24/7 smart lockers near the front entry, allowing convenient and secure package pickups at any time, day or night.
Based in San Diego, The UPS Store has some 5,000 locations. Deemed essential during the pandemic, stores have mostly remained open during the outbreak.
Key features and layout elements of the redesign include:
- A reimagined open-floor plan eliminating walls and dividers, and instead grouping the store into functional zones thoughtfully designed for optimal foot traffic flow and use of space.
- The front of the store is accessible 24 hours a day, with a security gate closing off other sections after hours. This entry zone can house mailboxes, smart lockers and self-serve printers.
- The service counter area is where customers can interact with associates during business hours for core services, including packing, shipping and printing. In addition, this section offers space for expert consultation and additional services such as a notary public.
- A dedicated print consultation area provides seating for customers, allowing center associates to provide an unrushed experience to explain all printing and design services.
- The back of the store has been transformed to showcase the open workspace. Full sightlines into this area allow customers to see the expert work that goes into the packing and shipping process.
- More fixtures and services incorporating technology, such as digital menu boards and smart lockers, are present throughout the store.
- Oak plank flooring greets the customers, adding warmth to the space, while the workshop flooring is finished with a concrete aesthetic to convey a modern industrial feel.
- Fresh, bright colors throughout the store stand in dramatic contrast to the monochromatic color palette of the previous generation of stores.
- Modular pieces allow for franchisees to customize the space for different situations, based on customer volume or workspace needed.
The UPS Store design team worked with Columbus, Ohio-based design firm Chute Gerdeman to develop the new look, feel and layout.
“We embarked on a collaborative strategic process that shed light on the need to convey transparency within the in-store experience,” said Jeff Wietrzykowski, creative director at Chute Gerdeman. “The new store design radically opens up the retail space, highlighting the variety of key services that The UPS Store centers offer, while communicating trust and collaboration to its customers.”
The UPS Store said that it spent four years building, testing and tweaking numerous prototype centers in various communities across the country to refine the design. Rooted in functionality and accessibility, the new design is intended to enhance space use and consumer appeal in response to changing customer needs.
The new design is part of a continued strategy to help The UPS Store franchisees thrive in a highly competitive environment, the company said. In addition to its current network of franchisees, the new design will be standard for new franchise owners, and the retailer offers both a veteran incentive program and a minority incentive program for new franchisee candidates looking to enter the network.
To thank and honor veterans for their service, the veteran incentive program provides $10,000 off the initial franchise fee, while The UPS Store is committed to fostering diversity through the minority incentive program. First-time minority franchisees are eligible to receive an approximately 50% discount off the franchise fee. Both veteran and minority franchisees who take part in these programs will develop their locations under the new store design.