Retail Evolving: Colleges Thinking Like Retail

Retail Evolving: Colleges Thinking Like Retail

Miller Zell is rooted in developing great retail environments. But as we’ve grown over the past 60 years, we’ve recognized that all public spaces operate as brands that generate customer experiences — both good and bad.


Consider colleges and universities.

Every building and every space on campus serve a variety of specific purposes for customers and associates or, in this case, students, athletes, professors, coaches, administrators, workers and alumni.

And those purposes are either served well or poorly. They either produce satisfaction for a variety of users, or they fall short in a few or many areas. This can be as fundamental and purposeful as signage supporting wayfinding or as cutting edge as the most advanced digital screens and content inside a football stadium.

Further, do those spaces serve and celebrate the brand, both the overall university brand and the sub-brand, which is the specific sport, academic focus, student use or administration contained within?

If the environment is optimized with a strategic design and properly executed, it bolsters the university’s bottom line, which is based on recruiting and retaining great students, athletes, professors and administrators, as well as impressing alumni and boosters so they continue to support the school.

Finally, was that space developed as efficiently as possible, completed on time and on budget?

While some outfits specializing in sports facilities point to their roster of architects and designers, that’s only the beginning (and potentially a false start if in-depth stakeholder interviews aren’t guiding design). The project needs to be managed from start to finish, from concept to completion, from research and design to procurement to manufacturing to build, installation and follow-up.

Great retail environments provide return on investment, and ROI only comes from purposeful design and efficient execution that create great customer and associate experiences.

And this applies to all branded environments, including universities.

As with retailers, Miller Zell provides universities with expertise and support for all aspects of their projects under one roof. We offer a single point of contact and accountability who becomes an extension of your university’s team, understanding your internal processes while focusing on providing solutions, efficiency and cost savings.


Learn How to Team Your
University’s Tradition with Innovation

Athletics and Higher education one pager copy