Sunday, August 29, 2010

What’s Hiding Behind the Hoarding?

Over the past couple of months South Yarra has been home to at least two fantastic examples of creating interest in dead space.

The first is The Botanical on Domain Road. Undergoing renovation, it's covered the cladding in front of the restaurant with graphics of eight different herbs. Your challenge is to guess the name of all herbs and then enter online to go into the draw to win a private dining experience. The promotion engages passers-by, most of us who probably feel quietly confident in our knowledge of all things gastronomical after being exposed to another season of Master Chef recently. It drives traffic back to the website and is an opportunity for The Bot to boost its mailing list.

The other is a little more quirky. 'New Seasons Pipes' is a campaign, not by a new apparel retailer (as I foolishly believed) but an effort by South East Water to conceal the ugliness of the Chapel Street Water Main Renewal Project, as they tear sections of the famous fashion precinct apart to improve utilities. It creates a positive image for a company that we generally associate with a hit to our hip pocket every quarter.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

GAP Chadstone Opens

GAP finally made its debut on the Australian public today - unveiling its first store at Chadstone Shopping Centre.

In true flagship style they've opted to do what few Australian retailers dare and spread their offer over two stories. Unfortunately they have made the decision to put GAP Kids upstairs and whilst there is a lift, I noticed a number of mothers struggling to get their prams up and down the couple of stairs at the top of the escalator.

It's an impressive site and they've utilised natural light from the outside window frontage. There's big beachwood and off white tables to hold volume, volume and more volume. Huge mirrors resting up against ends mean you don't necessarily need to queue for the fitting rooms to see how a garment looks on. The VM is banging! Visual cues galore to show customers the various ways shirts and denim can be worn (rolled sleeves, shirts tucked in, cuffs up, etc). Mannequin torsos layered in tees, particularly for the men's range. Strong Point of Sale imagery fills giant lightboxes and is plastered on the windows.

Most importantly GAP Australia has retained the identity it's renowned for. Once inside you could be in a GAP store anywhere around the globe.

I apologise for the quality of the photos which were taken on my Blackberry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Howard Saunders Does Westfield Breakfast Seminar – Pt 3

The final trend in retail Saunder’s shared with us was about playing with time…

3. Einstein Time

’Slippery’ stores with slick floors and clear, wide aisles (think supermarkets) reduce a customers dwell time.

These retailers are creating places for hang time:

Starbucks - free wireless

  starbucks free wifi Coffee Now With Free Wifi Service At Starbucks Across U.S & Canada


Jack Wills, Covent Garden London
Catering to those with a preppy sense of style, Jack Wills took over an old antique market in London’s Covent Garden and used the setting as a theme to hold customer interest whilst in the store.



Ping Pong Parlour, London
A pop up offering free ping pong to passers-by, no strings attached.



In summary the message for retailers is:

- You can’t turn back the design clock
- Try something different
- Give us time to love you

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Howard Saunders Does Westfield Breakfast Seminar – Pt 2

The second trend Saunders discussed reflects consumer’s desire for smaller scale…

2. Anti-Big
Why do large retailers like department stores segregate the way we shop, forcing us to walk between ‘Furniture’, ‘Linen’ and ‘Sleepwear’ sections to buy the items we need for a bedroom? It makes much more sense to shop by room or event.

Anthropologie, Kings Road

Le Labo, Marylebone Village
Unlike the bright, white, sterile spaces multi-national cosmetics companies traditionally operate from, Le Labo offers a unique collection of perfumes and candles created in partnership with some of the world best perfumers.  The creations are made in front of you and the labels personalized with the name of your choice.

Marqt, Amsterdam
One’s could be forgiven for thinking this is just another large food retailer cashing in on the demand for organic produce (think Whole Foods), but it’s actually a cashless (credit and bank cards only) collective farmers market.

It’s about Curation… putting together selected items to solve people’s problems.

Wonder Room @ Selfridges, London