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Transforming Retail Store Design and Construction Using 3D Technology

3D Models, Construction, Digital Twins, Grand Rapids, Matterport, Virtual Tours

by Sherry Rennick

Discover how virtual 3D models and digital twins can expedite project timelines and improve remote collaboration.

The design and construction of brick-and-mortar retail stores play a crucial role in shaping the customer experience. As retail environments become more complex and dynamic, leaders in real estate design and construction must adapt and innovate to remain competitive, control costs, and maintain efficiency. One notable innovation transforming the field of retail store design and construction is Matterport 3D technology, specifically photorealistic 3D models, or digital twins. By adopting 3D technology, you can expedite the store planning process, identify and address issues before and during construction, and efficiently create engaging in-store experiences through the virtual tour experience.

Let’s explore how 3D models are revolutionizing the entire retail store design and construction process, from initial conditions assessment to final buildout. The integration of Matterport digital twin technology  reduces costs, enhances collaboration among stakeholders, and streamlines project management.

Retail re-development of 2023

In 2023, the retail landscape is witnessing a resurgence of brick-and-mortar stores as e-commerce experiences a slight downturn following its peak during the pandemic. The market is now seeing more store openings than closures, with 2022 surpassing pre-pandemic 2019 levels in both the US and the UK. Report 

With growing interest and foot traffic in physical stores, brands are eager to create engaging in-store experiences while maintaining cost control. The latest retail store design trends emphasize the creation of omnichannel experiences and prioritize sustainability, flexibility, and adaptability.

Key trends in retail

  • Phygital” Retail: Where physical meets digital. Retailers are seamlessly integrating online and offline channels to provide a unified customer journey. They are incorporating digital touch points like mobile apps, interactive screens, and self-checkout kiosks into physical stores to enhance customer convenience and personalization.
  • Experiential Environments: Going beyond omnichannel, store designers are developing immersive and interactive spaces that push the boundaries of traditional shopping. This includes incorporating elements such as immersive installations, live demonstrations, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and curated events to enhance the customer experience and create memorable in-store moments.
  • Instagrammable Spaces: Creating visually captivating environments that are Instagram-worthy is a key focus. Retailers are emphasizing aesthetics and incorporating elements that provide immersive and memorable experiences for consumers who enjoy sharing their experiences on social media.
  • Pop-up and Micro-concept Stores: Evolving store formats are on the rise. Short-term pop-up stores allow retailers to experiment with new concepts, engage customers in different locations, and create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. Micro-concept stores cater to niche markets or specific product categories, offering a curated selection of products for a more personalized shopping experience.
  • Sustainability: There is a growing demand for eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient designs in retail spaces. Retailers are adopting environmentally friendly practices such as energy-efficient lighting, the use of recycled materials, solar panels, smart energy management systems, and sustainable design elements to align with consumer preferences for environmental responsibility. Read more about digital twins and sustainability.
  • Shrinkage Prevention: Retailers are implementing design strategies to mitigate theft and loss. This includes redesigning store layouts for better visibility, integrating anti-theft systems, and optimizing store operations to minimize shrinkage.

Each of these trends has a significant impact on how brands plan the design and functionality of their retail stores. With a growing interest in digital and omnichannel shopping experiences, there is a need to reevaluate store layouts and determine how best to incorporate technology to attract foot traffic. Brands may also reconsider the amount of on-site inventory they maintain and explore options for reducing costs through smaller store footprints.

Retail design and construction process

If you are planning to update the design of your store portfolio, there are several key steps involved in the process.

  1. Site Assessment: Conduct a thorough walkthrough of the property to assess existing conditions and identify necessary improvements. Measure and document specific features and areas to address during the conceptual design phase. We can help with that!
  2. Baseline Drawings: Create floor plans, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) files, or BIM (Building Information Modeling) files of the space. These are crucial for the design team to understand the layout and dimensions as they develop store concepts. We can do this too!
  3. Conceptual Design: Develop initial design concepts for new stores or remodels based on brand identity and customer experience goals. This phase includes space planning, visual merchandising, fixture selection, color schemes, lighting design, signage, and overall aesthetics. Retailers may collaborate with architects or internal design teams for this stage.
  4. Vendor Request for Proposals (RFPs): Request cost estimates from general contractors based on an approved concept selected by the stakeholder team. Vet external construction teams to ensure alignment with project requirements and budget. Sharing your digital twin makes this a seamless and efficient process during this time of constant back and forth communication.
  5. Construction: Oversee the buildout process, which may involve demolishing existing structures, installing new fixtures, updating electrical and plumbing systems, painting, flooring installation, and other construction tasks outlined in the design plans. Internal stakeholders closely monitor progress, address issues, hold teams accountable, and ensure compliance with contract documents. Capturing 3D construction status reports is a critical step in documenting project progress.
  6. Testing and Inspections: Conduct thorough testing and inspections of systems, fixtures, and equipment to ensure proper functioning and safety standards compliance. This may include electrical inspections, fire safety checks, HVAC system evaluations, and the creation of a punch list of items requiring attention before final payment and project handover. These punch lists can be directly embedded in the 3D model or digital twin, with real time, Matterport cloud based updates to support remote collaboration.
  7. Completion: Execute a final walkthrough to confirm that all details are complete, and the store is ready to open to the public.

3D models and digital twins can significantly improve this process by allowing you to assess the as-built conditions of your stores and efficiently plan new build outs, remodels, or improvements. Digital twins can be employed at each step of the design and construction process, facilitating faster assessments and documentation, reducing errors in design iterations, providing more accurate cost estimates, and streamlining the construction process.

Leverage Matterport digital twin technology

Capturing the Physical Space: Utilize the services of a local Michigan Matterport service provider, like Perspective 3D, to capture high-quality 3D scans of your stores. These scans should encompass all visible elements, such as walls, doors, windows, ceiling heights, staircases, elevators, lighting, existing furniture, and displays. These scans will serve as the basis for your digital twins. Contact Perspective 3D for a free consultation and let us inspire you! Scheduling is always flexible and on-site visits are completed quickly, most within a few hours or less. Your digital twin will be ready within one-two business days.

Generate Floor Plans and Mechanical Drawings:  We can extract files directly from the processed data captured during the Matterport scan. These files are essential for design and project management.

  • Floor Plans: Quickly access detailed schematic floor plans, which provide a starting point for design and layout discussions.
  • BIM: Benefit from Building Information Modeling (BIM) files, including various building element output options, to streamline design requirements and construction evaluations.

Matterport software also offers direct integrations with Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Construction Cloud, so you can seamlessly import your files for schematic design work and construction evaluation.

Enhancing design visualization and collaboration

Digital twins enable accurate visualization (see accuracy specifications here) and streamlined communication throughout the design and construction phases.

Improve Design Accuracy:  Ensure the design team has accurate as-built files from the start, reducing manual drawing processes and the potential for errors. For projects needing precision of accuracy, LiDAR scanning should be utilized with Matterport software.

Collaborate Seamlessly: Use digital twins to facilitate collaboration among stakeholders by enabling easy sharing, annotation, and discussion within the digital twin environment. Digital twins promote real-time collaboration. If vendors or team members have questions or need clarifications, they can communicate directly within the digital twin environment, streamlining the exchange of information and reducing communication lag.

Expedite Timelines: Digital twins play a pivotal role in accelerating project timelines by reducing the necessity for multiple on-site visits. Here’s how they facilitate quicker project execution:

  • Virtual Property Access: With digital twins, vendors and project stakeholders can virtually explore the property at any time, without the need for scheduling or on-site coordination. This eliminates the delays associated with coordinating physical visits.
  • Dynamic Updates: In the digital twin environment, stakeholders have the flexibility to make updates and additions as needed. For instance, if dimensions are missing or need adjustment, team members can quickly add new measurements directly within the digital twin model.
  • Focused Decision-Making: Digital twins empower decision-makers to focus on specific aspects of the project without the distractions or logistical challenges of physical site visits. This concentrated attention can lead to quicker and more informed decisions.
  • Data-Driven Insights: By relying on digital twins, teams can access accurate and up-to-date data, enabling data-driven decision-making. This minimizes the need for time-consuming data collection and analysis during site visits.

Incorporating digital twins into the project workflow significantly expedites timelines, enhances efficiency, and ensures that project stakeholders can collaborate seamlessly, even when physically distant. These advantages contribute to faster project completion and a more streamlined construction process.

Click image to explore a 3D space

Ensuring efficient, quality construction

Matterport 3D models and Digital twins not only enhance design visualization but continue to provide substantial benefits during the construction phase, especially as reliance on external vendors increases. Here’s how digital twins contribute to efficient and high-quality construction:

  • Reducing Travel Time and Costs:  Managing multiple active construction sites can be challenging, making physical visits impractical and costly. With digital twins, you can virtually visit any property from anywhere at any stage of the project using 3D walkthroughs. This eliminates the need for extensive travel, allowing you to efficiently oversee and manage projects across your portfolio.
  • Enhancing Construction Progress Monitoring: While trusting the expertise of your partners, digital twins allow you to actively participate by capturing project milestones. Stay up-to-date on progress at predetermined intervals, gain a clear understanding of any issues that may arise, and bring the clarity of photorealistic 3D models to meetings. This ensures that your entire team remains informed and engaged throughout the construction process.
  • Accelerating Project Progress: Digital twins provide a valuable tool for addressing issues promptly and making faster decisions. By enabling stakeholders to virtually “walk through” the property and visualize potential challenges or opportunities, digital twins help streamline decision-making and issue resolution. This alignment among internal and external teams results in reduced errors, minimized miscommunication, and ultimately shorter project timelines.
  • Risk Reduction: Digital twins offer stakeholders the opportunity to “visit” properties without the time and disruptions associated with physical site visits. This is particularly important in active construction environments, where foot traffic can be hazardous and disruptive. Virtual visits allow for a thorough understanding of the project’s status and conditions while maintaining safety and minimizing distractions.Incorporating digital twins into the construction phase ensures efficient project management, reduces costs, and minimizes risks associated with on-site visits. It empowers stakeholders to actively engage in projects, monitor progress, and make informed decisions, ultimately leading to high-quality construction outcomes.

Digital twins are rapidly becoming a cornerstone of the retail and commercial real estate design and construction process, revolutionizing the industry with their ability to expedite, enhance accuracy, and reduce costs in various initiatives. 

Why choose Perspective 3D?

Perspective 3D provides a variety of professional, high-quality imaging services, including Matterport digital twins, to customers across the state of Michigan. We love working with builders, homeowners, and project managers to make their construction projects more streamlined, strategic, and effective.

Let us show you how digital twins can reduce costs and save valuable time on your next project. Contact our sales team today for more information and a personalized quote. 616-312-3947.