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Magazines Archives - 2011 May

Shop Fitting & Design
Story 4 - Focus

When it comes to store design, retailers in the city-state of Singapore agree that it is all about the branding. As the physical store is the first thing that customers notice, putting together a well-fitted store and ensuring the visual merchandising is effective and appealing will not only entice customers in to browse, but also help a retail brand establish itself in the market. Jolene Klassen reports.

Branding and functionality key to store design

Shop Fitting & Design hop fitting is crucial in communicating a retailer’s brand ideals and projecting its brand identity. It supports the physical expression of the brand to captivate and attract customers,” Lars Vikman, creative director of popular stationery brand Prints, states.

Clearly, identifying the right ideals would go a long way in establishing a retailer’s brand image. Prints, which opened its first store at the CityLink Mall in Singapore in 2003, has since become synonymous with premium paper products and accessories, as the retailer sells a variety of Swedish-inspired designer stationery in vivid colours and designs.

Experiential retailing: branding by ‘experience’
With the growing pool of international labels and retailers establishing their brands in malls across the island, branding is graduating from simple logos and slogans to an all-encompassing shopping experience that starts the instant the shopper sets foot into the store.

“In general, retailing is shifting from traditional retailing, which is just regular shopping, to become more experiential,” observes Sunaina Gill, director of Gill Capital, which manages furniture concept store iwannagohome, and lifestyle confectionery brand Candylicious in Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai, UAE.

As such, retailers here are hoping to appeal to the senses, so that they can not only entice shoppers into the stores and to keep them there longer, but also enhance their shopping experience.

“Prints’ store design is a deliberate intent to capture all senses in the shopping experience, with emphasis on the visual and audio (through music). Each component plays an important role in enhancing the shopping experience,” Vikman explains.

According to the Prints creative director, store layouts must enable easy browsing where products are arranged by category, allowing displays to relate the brand’s ideals to the customer. Additionally, lighting in the stores needs to showcase products by “enhancing and bringing out” the distinctiveness of the features and designs of each item.

“This can be achieved by angling the light in specific display points. The clever use of light would ensure a guide for customers’ eyes to follow through. Lighting also transforms the physical space into a shopping environment,” Vikman continues.

He adds that signage can also reinforce brand values and increase brand recollection among consumers. “Signage should be simple, yet [placed] in a prominent location, [such as] unique and strategic spots at the entrance, heavy traffic areas [and] counter space … as it encourages high visibility of the brands,” Vikman elaborates.

Recognising that the store’s design and ambience can either attract or turn away a shopper, Gill states that at Candylicious, the aim is to reflect a light-hearted and carefree ambience by using bursts of colours that turn the store into a “whimsical, fun place to shop”.

Enticing shoppers with eye-catching displays and concepts

The window displays at Tangs Pavilion Kuala Lumpur are so striking that shoppers tend to stop and stare, and are lured in. The justlaunched Spring ’11 collection with the theme ‘I am Super Duper’ has life-like mannequins in bright, super-funky fashion. Walk in and the super-duper creative talent of Jonon Chou, Tangs Malaysia’s senior manager for visual merchandising and store planning, is evident.

The shopper’s eyes are riveted to three “flying executives” suspended from the ceiling, carrying bags of different styles in the section Style Travel on the first level of the store, which is about jet setting with products that appeal to the high-flyer consumer. There is even a board like in the airport, depicting flight times. Wardrobe Men is also on this floor, with Timepiece to complete the look. It continues the Super Duper theme.

“It encourages customers to indulge their individuality,” explains Chou. It is a theme that will continue into June. The window displays last at the most, oneand- a-half months, and the merchandise on show is changed fortnightly so there is a constantly evolving look not only in the windows, but also inside the store.

Says Pat Ng, Tangs Malaysia’s assistant vice-president for marketing and communications: “We have evolved from the traditional ‘department store’ concept by introducing a distinctive retail experience with creative store design, which focuses on concepts rather than departments.

“For example, at Wardrobe Women, you can find a collection of original fashion labels comprising apparel, shoes, accessories and handbags. Ultimate Scents on the same floor presents a wide selection of fragrances while at Dressing Room you will find intimate apparel. The PlayLab concept features a multi-label concept of urban styling, lifestyle sportswear and denims.”

The display shelves at PlayLab, for instance, are all at eye level, and you could easily pick out a pair of trendy sports shoes, with a colourful half-torso mannequin as the feature draw.”

Lighting is skilfully done, creating an ambience that encourages the shopper to stay, look and buy. Overall fixture heights have been reduced to entice customers to explore other areas of the store, a concept that is used in many stores in the US.

Tangs is also considering some possibilities of using digital signages. As for the window displays, local festivals such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Chr i s tmas ar e highlighted, as well as launches for the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. In between, there are three big sales by Tangs, and thematic promotions coordinated by Singaporebased Tangs.

Creative store design, merchandising concepts, experiential shopping ambience and personalised service are what keep the customers coming back to Tangs at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur and the Empire Shopping Gallery in Subang, Petaling Jaya. For instance, ‘East meets West’ in a western modern mix with Middle Eastern influences as seen in the cutting-edge palm tree signature pillars, which also double up as a light fixture in Tangs Pavilion. “This is relevant to the diverse mix of customers that visit the store,” Ng points out.

The store caters to discerning contemporary shoppers, who are generally well educated and well informed of current trends. Among them are tourists and expatriates who demand distinctive and exclusive merchandise that are not found in other department stores, she adds. “We would like to offer them a unique retail experience with fashion lifestyle merchandise sourced globally according to international trends.”

Retail store design comes of age in Manila

Setting up a retail shop in the Philippines used to be a simple and straightforward affair.

For those selling products such S Retail store design comes of age in Manila as jewellery, shoes and garments, all the retailer needed to do was paint the shop walls white, install glass shelves, provide adequate lighting and put up display cases and a reception area. It was even simpler for restaurants and leisure outlets — all that was required were enough chairs and tables to seat patrons, and of course enough lights for them to see their food and beverages.

Ambience and proper brand representation were generally not an integral part of the store landscape and far from local retailers’ minds.

Not anymore.
In this age of elevated customer tastes and exposure to what the rest of the world has to offer by way of retail outlets, Philippine retail companies have had no choice but to invest in the look and feel of their retail outlets lest they lose out to their competitors who are only too eager to snatch valuable market share.

Comments Bernie Liu, president of the Philippine Retailers Association: “Philippine retailing has continued to mature and grow in sophistication in the past few years. Beginning with the constant upgrading of our mall structures, coupled with our exposure to global brands, Philippine retailers have had much to draw inspiration from. You can see these changes with a quick stroll in any of our malls.

“The shopping taste of the Filipino consumer has become more refined. No longer are they just looking for great products, but a desirable shopping experience as well, and a large part of this comes from store design.”

According to architect Jason L Buensalido of Buensalido+Architects, the Philippine market has become more design-conscious, thus the days of basic retail shop designs are long gone.

This puts pressure on retail companies to come up with better designs for their outlets, especially as these have also become solid expressions of what their brand is all about. It will not do for high-end brands, for example, to have unimaginative shops because this might turn off their deep-pocketed clientele who are used to more stylish surroundings.

This is why for the 38-year-old premium shoe brand Via Venetto, Buensalido conceptualised a retail shop that feels more like an extension of someone’s tastefully designed home, to encourage potential buyers to come in, comfortably try on shoes and hopefully walk away with a purchase.

And taking inspiration from the word ‘via’, which means roadway, path or walkway in Italian, the new generation Via Venetto retail shops convey that sense of movement through a series of undulating arcs that loom above the space, creating a ceremonial experience for visitors coming into the store.

To view full story, get a copy of Retail Asia. To subscribe, please download the subscription form from http://www.retailasiaonline.com/subscription.html 



2011 May Stories:

Soaring inflation, rising concerns Part 2: How can Asian retailers steer clear of the hazards?

Hewlett-Packard’s key
Digital, interactive solutions

HKTDC’s Summer Sourcing Show offers final chance to stock up for year-end holiday season

Shop Fitting & Desig

Cartes in Asia attracts leading players from the global payments market

Japan’s triple disaster sending ripples across various retail segments

Singapore retailers receive US$70m productivity-boost package

India’s e-commerce sector set for 47% growth in 2011

Zebra Technologies rolls out affordable all-in-one kiosk receipt printer

DHL, Hasbro roll out Transformers-themed trucks in China’s Pearl River Delta region

Inaugural award lauds family-friendly malls and retail stores in Singapore

Coffee Bean launches single-serve beverage system, set to expand in Asia

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