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Counter Culture 2

Applying a visual eye and a thinking mind to fly the flag for global retail best practice.

Applying a visual eye and a thinking mind to fly the flag for global retail best practice.

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2<br />

<strong>Counter</strong><br />

<strong>Culture</strong><br />

shoptactics<br />

Trading Places<br />

How imported UK expertise is helping<br />

Australian retailers make new friends.<br />

Training On-Trend<br />

Why engaging and developing retail<br />

teams has never been so fashionable.<br />

Stretch Fit<br />

Success stories and cautionary tales of<br />

expanding brands into new markets.<br />

Exploring global retailers…<br />

Flying High<br />

Europe<br />

Asia<br />

America<br />

Australia<br />

visualthinking.co.uk


04<br />

Trading Places<br />

Contents<br />

Foreword 03<br />

18<br />

It Stacks Up<br />

Trading Places 04<br />

Training On-Trend 06<br />

Fresh Perspective 07<br />

#Shoptactics 08<br />

Stretch Fit 09<br />

Bouncing Baku 11<br />

Mould Breaking 13<br />

Window Wonder 14<br />

(S)mall World 15<br />

It Stacks Up 18<br />

21<br />

Desert Re(treats)<br />

Talking Shop 20<br />

Lead On 20<br />

Desert Re(treats) 21<br />

Golden Gate 23<br />

Read More<br />

Our Services<br />

<br />

Bloom or Bust 24<br />

Diary Dates 24<br />

Check Out Essentials 25<br />

Vimeo<br />

<br />

Twitter<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Foreword<br />

3<br />

Retail’s future is bright once more. Brands<br />

have the tools at their disposal to deliver<br />

engaging instore experiences like never before<br />

– to create destinations that customers want<br />

to go back to again and again. But like the<br />

holidaymaker who chances bathing in the<br />

British summer sun instead of going abroad,<br />

it also has the potential to be inglorious.<br />

There are still as many opportunities to get it<br />

wrong, as get it right. Within minutes, sales can<br />

be lost as a result of poor retail implementation<br />

practices, and brands can lose control.<br />

Sometimes retail teams are slow to react, or<br />

react to the wrong things. On other occasions,<br />

the desire to invest in digital experiences simply<br />

becomes too much of an overriding focus.<br />

“<br />

<br />

technology will<br />

<br />

<br />

”<br />

Foolishness is repeating the same behaviours,<br />

<br />

result. No amount of fancy technology will<br />

account for getting the basics right, and that’s<br />

<br />

tools that a brand can deploy to make sure<br />

its shops and stores maximise whatever<br />

opportunities they have, become priceless.<br />

The endless debate about omnichannel,<br />

multichannel – call it what you will – can leave<br />

anyone with a penchant for ‘physical retail’ feeling<br />

like they are part of a lost generation. But this<br />

relentless quest for the next and the new misses<br />

a fundamental, overriding consideration that<br />

can all too easily be forgotten – as shoppers,<br />

we want to shop. For the record, there are<br />

plenty of people born after 1995 who are not<br />

singularly interested in consuming every aspect<br />

of a shopping experience via a backlit screen.<br />

Where retail teams add real value is in their<br />

ability to create distracting, diversionary and<br />

<br />

well, cause customers to switch what and<br />

how they buy products and services instore.<br />

As an agency, it makes us even more<br />

enthused about getting the balance between<br />

physical and digital instore experiences just<br />

right. Wisdom says that retail will always be<br />

a ‘people’ business – a relationship between<br />

the buyers (the customers) and the sellers<br />

(the store owners). So invest in the people<br />

responsible for delivering your brand instore.<br />

Do it well and you will provide the impetus for<br />

improved retail performance and guarantee<br />

that your stores have their time in the sun.<br />

Karl McKeever<br />

Managing Director<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


4<br />

Trading Places


“<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

and timeless vintage<br />

shops to elegant<br />

<br />

shopping centres and<br />

new supermalls.<br />

”<br />

5<br />

In March, members of the Visual Thinking team boarded<br />

<br />

of two weeks, it would see them tour Sydney, Melbourne,<br />

Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, training 600+ retail managers<br />

<br />

on Australia in such scale, but it will not be the last. During<br />

the summer, the team notched up the air miles again when<br />

they dropped in to complete the next phase of an instore<br />

transformation project for one of the country’s biggest retailers.<br />

It’s clear to anyone who visits the southern hemisphere that<br />

Australia has become an intriguing player on the world’s<br />

retail stage. One of the most striking things about Australia<br />

today is the speed in which its retail sector has been<br />

transformed in recent years. The country is brimming with<br />

a myriad of retail hot spots, from fashion-forward boutiques<br />

and timeless vintage shops to elegant arcades, buzzing<br />

shopping centres and new supermalls. Noticeably and<br />

<br />

transforming customer expectations with vibrant, modern,<br />

<br />

<br />

Australia. A third of Sydney’s inhabitants were born overseas<br />

and the number of international retailers has also swelled in<br />

recent years – delivering fresh inspiration to shoppers, as<br />

well as a new benchmark for homegrown retailers, when<br />

it comes to VM activation and brand delivery instore. The<br />

arrival of brands such as H&M, Zara, Uniqlo and Topshop<br />

has forced many local brands to up their game.<br />

As a result, Australian retailers have begun to place an<br />

unprecedented focus on improved retail standards. This has<br />

seen a growing number reach out beyond their own shores,<br />

buying into leading retail expertise from countries such as<br />

the UK, to help them deliver outstanding retail experiences<br />

and put them on a par with their international peers.<br />

Australia is looking for respect, and the willingness of its retailers<br />

to look outside their own country to deliver best practice<br />

standards is a refreshing counter-balance to some in other<br />

markets who think they already have all the answers. The<br />

nation’s retailers are prepared to listen, embrace fresh thinking<br />

and implement new ideas in order to achieve their ambitions.<br />

Flying in retail specialists from the other side of the globe<br />

may perhaps be troubling for traditionalists, oddly refreshing<br />

for others – certainly it breaks a few rules. But it’s done with<br />

the belief that good is never good enough, and achieving<br />

outstanding instore performance is worth the investment. All<br />

<br />

in other countries feeling enlightened, rather than threatened.<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


“<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

”<br />

Training On-Trend<br />

6<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Like fashion, retail is about making you feel something. But<br />

establishing emotional connections with the brand expands<br />

beyond the physical instore experience delivered to shoppers.<br />

Just as buying into a certain style enables people<br />

to identify with something, winning the hearts and<br />

minds of retail teams to deliver your brand correctly<br />

instore is all about creating a sense of belonging.<br />

As anyone who has been in the industry long enough should<br />

recognise, the most successful retailers, like Apple, win out<br />

because of their ability to recruit not just people, but genuine<br />

brand advocates with a passion and commitment to the<br />

name. Harnessing the potential of your people is a powerful<br />

commercial business tool. But you have to get it right.<br />

In the same way that you can change how you feel by what<br />

<br />

how employees feel about the brand and towards instore<br />

<br />

development is like creating a focal point instore. A visual<br />

merchandiser could put lots of things together, but without a<br />

clear focus and story, the shopper would go away confused.<br />

It’s a similar story with cascading instore policy and<br />

procedures to retail teams. Unlike generalist trainers,<br />

the job of a retail training specialist is to harness that<br />

overall focus, concentrating on what the brand should<br />

<br />

that is both accessible and easy to understand.<br />

This demands an approach that goes far beyond the scope<br />

of conventional task-based training; equipping people with<br />

not only the knowledge and skills but, just as importantly,<br />

the behaviours to seize and maintain the competitive edge<br />

in today’s highly demanding retail marketplace. It may<br />

take the form of stimulating bespoke learning experiences<br />

such as group workshops, large-scale company events<br />

and one-to-one coaching for senior managers.<br />

Essentially, the bigger the brand and complexity of the product<br />

range, the more important it becomes for training to cut<br />

through the ‘noise’. Brands must focus employees’ attention<br />

quickly to ensure they don’t just ‘get’ but ‘live’ the message.<br />

Multiple UK retailers that have perfected how to better<br />

engage retail teams include the likes of O2, John Lewis,<br />

Harley-Davidson, and Next. In doing so, they do much<br />

more than precisely control the layout priorities and<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


product presentation of ranges – they turn their employees into<br />

enablers. That means fully engaging them with the instore objectives,<br />

inspiring them to strive for excellence, and developing thinking around<br />

best practice. In short, giving them both the knowledge and skills<br />

to deliver outstanding results instore, in every store, every day. This<br />

<br />

to both the retail experience and sales performance instore.<br />

So, far from autumn being a time for pessimism as the nights draw in, now<br />

is the perfect time to crack instore training and development to ensure that<br />

retail teams are fully engaged and have the passion for the cause that will<br />

be required to realise both their own potential, and that of the brands that<br />

they serve. Only then will retailers be able to continue delighting customers<br />

and maintain a distinctive edge into the new season, and beyond.<br />

<br />

www.visualthinking.co.uk<br />

Fresh Perspective<br />

7<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

—Esquire Magazine August 2015<br />

“Women like to feel that a sense of<br />

indulgence and environment plays a<br />

part in their emotions. For men, it’s<br />

about the personality and relationship;<br />

establishing a connection is important.<br />

<br />

a good barber, you hang on to him<br />

for life. Men prefer to do the research<br />

once, do it thoroughly, and then stick<br />

with that decision for quite some<br />

time,” says Karl McKeever of retail<br />

consultancy, Visual Thinking.<br />

<br />

<br />

Respect<br />

—Recruiter Magazine July 2015<br />

“If consistency is your goal, then<br />

training must go beyond the scope of<br />

conventional task-based learning and<br />

give people the ability to understand<br />

what ‘good’ looks like. Seizing the<br />

advantage in a highly competitive<br />

<br />

industry, calls for a do-it-now, do-itbetter<br />

mentality.”<br />

<br />

<br />

—DIY Week Magazine June 2015<br />

“VM is something of a hybrid tool<br />

– part science, part business and,<br />

<br />

what, when and how customers buy.<br />

It encompasses everything from store<br />

layout and product merchandising<br />

to point-of-sale, and even good<br />

housekeeping. It’s about delivering<br />

a truly great brand and customer<br />

experience at every touchpoint along<br />

the shopping journey.”<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


#Shoptactics<br />

<br />

<br />

Galleries<br />

Twitter<br />

@karlmckeever…<br />

Twitter<br />

@shoptactics…<br />

Keep up to date with latest retail<br />

stories and images from our travels,<br />

as we showcase the global retail<br />

<br />

Good luck to our #VM Consultants<br />

who start a 10 city national #retail<br />

#engagement session today for a<br />

leading #telco #brand Have fun!<br />

—<br />

SPRING arrives in-store in #Australia.<br />

READ our latest blog piece here:<br />

http://bit.ly/1E8LOqI #windows<br />

#vm #retail<br />

—<br />

8<br />

I’m taking part in a judging process<br />

today to agree the winners of a<br />

prestigious retail prize. #goodluck<br />

#success @retailfocus @shoptactics<br />

—<br />

See my contribution in this month’s<br />

@esquireUK about #retail for men<br />

—<br />

<br />

@Melbourne sharing ideas about<br />

future #VM and #retail delivery<br />

improvement with a major national<br />

#brand.<br />

—<br />

Teen retail resurgence? @Abercrombie<br />

shares soar: http://cnb.cx/1hGnfwo<br />

#dynamics of #shopping #change<br />

—<br />

Find out the 15 #best #window<br />

#schemes for the Retail Focus<br />

Readers’ Choice Award VOTE HERE:<br />

http://retail-focus.co.uk/vote<br />

—<br />

‘Employing a little shelf respect’ Read<br />

our thoughts here: http://bit.ly/1Iib5z3<br />

via @RecruiterMag #recruitment<br />

#training<br />

—<br />

Stradivarius, Barcelona<br />

<br />

The @Burberry Regent St. #digital<br />

#brand wall is mesmerisingly beautiful<br />

plays to the shops former cinema past<br />

—<br />

Global #luxury #labels re-entering<br />

#India with fresh perspective http://bit.<br />

ly/1KPxpll #fashion #brands<br />

—<br />

5 Reasons to choose Visual Thinking<br />

<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

Change the world<br />

<br />

<br />

People power<br />

<br />

every year to develop essential knowledge and skills, in countless sectors,<br />

and in many languages.<br />

Crowd-pleasers<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

On the same page<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

the <br />

<br />

Canali, New York<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


9<br />

Stretch Fit<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


“<br />

Whilst retail will<br />

always <br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

their values into new<br />

markets<br />

”<br />

10<br />

Maeve Hosea is a journalist specialising in<br />

design, branding, business, and cultural trends.<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, is a symbol<br />

of ambition, technology and money if ever there was one: a sleek<br />

superstructure rising 828 metres towards the sky. It is here that Italian<br />

<br />

the chairs to the restaurant menus fashioned by the great man himself.<br />

The Italian brand’s status as a taste-maker – in everything from frocks<br />

<br />

it continues on its trajectory of translating fashion into lifestyle.<br />

The popularity of eating and sleeping such badges of luxury is growing:<br />

Cavalli Club, Maison Margiela, Palazzo Versace and Bulgari Hotels are just<br />

a few of the luxury names whose appeal, up until now, was most commonly<br />

accessed through beautifully-designed retail outlets. Iconic London<br />

department store Harrods knows about haute lifestyle too and is following<br />

<br />

Other brands creating touchpoints in hospitality include Spanish witty<br />

footwear marque Camper; IKEA, with its budget Moxy Hotels; Hotel<br />

<br />

the immersive country house style experience with Laura Ashley hotels.<br />

Whilst retail will always be at the heart of most well-known high street<br />

brands, a growing number are successfully managing to extend<br />

their values into new markets, creating lucrative touchpoints beyond<br />

bricks and mortar. Similarly, some brands with successful businesses<br />

outside of retail have managed to make the transition to the high<br />

street. And their brand delivery traits all share a common thread.<br />

<br />

– be that design and innovation in the case of IKEA or craftsmanship<br />

and creativity in Camper – loyalty earned in one category can elevate its<br />

launch into another. We know the importance that experience plays along<br />

the path to purchase and how that creates connections on a human<br />

level. A sense of familiarity at key touchpoints as well as consistency in<br />

brand delivery and customer service all help build an emotional bond<br />

and can allow the brand to extend the relationship into a new sphere.<br />

As a nation, few are as switched on to the concept of brand elasticity<br />

as the Japanese. Famous for unabashedly conquering categories,<br />

businesses such as Yamaha and Mitsubishi prove they can earn<br />

as much caché for pianos as motorbikes, for home appliances<br />

as bullet trains. They have successfully been stretched but, with<br />

brand values closely adhered to, they are wholly recognisable.<br />

In this spirit, homewares store Muji has recently extended its brand of<br />

simple, well-made style not only into Muji cafés but also in Muji campsites<br />

in the scenic countryside of Niigata, Gifu and Gunma; popular Japanese<br />

fashion brand Beams has recently launched Lemson’s, a self-service<br />

yoghurt and soft ice cream shop; and Sanrio – of Hello Kitty fame – not<br />

only promotes its characters in its own brand high street and duty-free<br />

stores but also in Sanrio Puroland, a theme park not dissimilar to Disney.<br />

As Virgin – which started life as a record store before it moved into air<br />

travel, money, media and space tourism – demonstrates, the secret<br />

is in maintaining the boldness of the Virgin personality and tone of<br />

voice, which gives it legitimacy to enter multiple categories.<br />

<br />

street retailers to serve them in other areas of their lives. They buy<br />

<br />

<br />

has also been the game plan of South American multinational<br />

<br />

The dynamic marketing at play on the global high street is set to deliver<br />

many more examples of brand elasticity yet. While US grocery store Whole<br />

Foods shares plans to open wellness resorts, we logically wonder will the<br />

health-conscious soon be joining a Boots gym? The British consumer trusts<br />

Marks & Spencer with its money but would they stay in an M&S hotel?<br />

What is unquestionable is that today’s most successful brands recognise<br />

the importance of delivering excitement to customers at the same<br />

time as adding commercial value to the business. The challenge for<br />

many, however, is in keeping those values clear at multiple touchpoints<br />

and learning how to never lose sight of the brand essence.<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Bouncing Baku<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

11


12<br />

In a few years, Baku could be like Dubai. Maybe better. There are huge<br />

amounts of money being spent and some truly spectacular buildings<br />

<br />

<br />

city’s boom, a wealth of retail imports and the elegant boutiques are<br />

now making Baku a hot retail ticket for cash-rich, brand-conscious<br />

<br />

time, it has become one of the top luxury retail capitals of the world.<br />

It’s little surprise then that the city’s retail mix focuses mostly on highend<br />

brands such as Burberry, Dior, Gucci, Prada, and Valentino.<br />

The mass market is well represented, too: global powerhouses such<br />

as Mango, Next, ALDO, Levi’s and The North Face are all present,<br />

although there are some obvious ‘aces’ missing. It’s perhaps not<br />

surprising. Daring to tread into such markets requires caution.<br />

Comparisons with other emerging consumer markets are obvious.<br />

Despite the country’s keenness to emulate ‘Western’ standards,<br />

Baku like its neighbour, Russia, is a society whose abrupt style and<br />

service culture is far removed from formulaic American platitudes<br />

or the detail-orientated, fawning Japanese. As international retailers<br />

entering China have discovered, success is not just about translating<br />

words, but applying ideas in a way that is sensitive to local culture.<br />

As in Dubai, the majority of international retailers in Baku work through<br />

franchisee arrangements. In both markets, surely franchises are licences to<br />

<br />

to shop in many of the high-end stores. Secondly, creating a genuine brand<br />

experience that lives up to the reputation and value in the consumer’s mind<br />

is no mean feat, regardless of how big the franchised brand. Ask Harvey<br />

Nichols: the reason for British department store Harvey Nichols’ recent<br />

exit from the once Soviet state was put down to issues with licensees.<br />

Brand equity is everything in a global market. To do it well means doing<br />

more than just recreating the same ‘look’ without the same ‘feel’. It’s<br />

not enough to have strict contractual requirements in place with local<br />

partners to invest substantially in the ‘hard’ elements of creating the<br />

<br />

be given to the ‘softer’ requirements of delivering the brand through<br />

the day-to-day trading activities, such as visual merchandising, store<br />

operations and customer service. Many international agencies are<br />

regularly hired to do window displays because there just isn’t anyone<br />

at the required level locally. More often it requires brands to invest in<br />

increasing the skill levels of teams to give them the instore knowledge<br />

to back up their eager smiles with consistent standards of best practice<br />

– a tough ask when needing to engage hundreds of store assistants<br />

in a market that is thousands of miles away from a brand’s home.<br />

“<br />

<br />

market. To do it well means doing<br />

<br />

<br />

”<br />

To succeed, these outlets must deliver the brand at all levels. Not just<br />

presenting a good façade, but delivering high standards of product<br />

<br />

the origins of the brand, its DNA and familiar delivery hallmarks.<br />

Baku is an exciting place, with fabulous possibilities. The franchised<br />

brands already present, and others who will no doubt follow,<br />

will hope it realises its true potential. While they wait, the minds<br />

that are focused on setting up shop should also think about<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


13<br />

Mould Breaking<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


14<br />

The experience of buying a new car would be familiar<br />

<br />

<br />

to say that when it comes to the showroom buying<br />

experience, the car industry has been stuck in the<br />

equivalent of neutral for years – trapped in a time<br />

warp that lost touch with how retail has evolved.<br />

In truth, motoring brands should be leaving high street<br />

retailers standing in terms of customer experience.<br />

Given the cost of the product, often the second most<br />

expensive item after someone’s home, the role of instore<br />

in supporting a customer’s purchase decision is probably<br />

now more important than in any other market sector.<br />

The giants of motoring are waking up to the fact that<br />

things need to change. Rockar Hyundai has followed<br />

the lead of those truly great retail innovators - those that<br />

maximise the brand experience instore to engage with<br />

customers and increase sales. Its new store in Bluewater<br />

is a true revelation. Revolutionary. Game changing. As<br />

well as multi-award-winning, having recently added Best<br />

Flagship and Store Concept at the 2015 POPAI Awards<br />

to its long list of accolades. Almost overnight it became<br />

Hyundai’s largest dealership – 100,000 customer visits to<br />

store since opening, compared with 400 visits to a typical<br />

dealership in the same period, speaks volumes about<br />

its impact and the legacy it will leave on the industry.<br />

<br />

in control and recognising that its people are its most<br />

<br />

Wave goodbye to car salesmen, confusing jargon and<br />

feeling pressured when buying a car and say hello to<br />

friendly, straightforward advice and a warm, engaging<br />

buying experience. Its instore team – Rockar ‘Angels’<br />

– receive no sales training and have no targets, with<br />

objectives instead focused on customer touchpoints.<br />

Elsewhere, Ford has recently begun to roll out its<br />

new showroom concept across Europe – with clear<br />

echoes of a certain famous technology retailer. And<br />

it’s not alone, with a raft of other ‘me too’ showroom<br />

<br />

The protagonists of traditional dealership marketing<br />

methods and instore experiences may claim that the<br />

customers’ relationship with showrooms is entirely<br />

<br />

hard to maintain this stance, especially given Rockar’s<br />

success story and the incremental revenue potential<br />

that exists from the sale of clothing and merchandise<br />

accessories, as well as aftercare essentials.<br />

<br />

expertise and knowledge of visual merchandising specialists<br />

to identify ways of improving retail performance. So too have<br />

brands in the world of two wheels – Harley-Davidson has<br />

been working with retail agency Visual Thinking for almost<br />

a decade to deliver best-in-class product presentation<br />

standards across its worldwide dealership network.<br />

“<br />

<br />

straight<br />

<br />

<br />

”<br />

Put simply, automotive brands won’t realise their potential<br />

by doing what they have always done. Now is the time<br />

for more brands in the sector to fundamentally rethink<br />

their showrooms – to cut through the pretence of looking<br />

after customers and instead begin to genuinely think like<br />

a customer, delighting them with retail experiences that<br />

deliver the same kind of emotional connection with the<br />

<br />

advertising. Do that and then they’ll really be motoring.<br />

<br />

<br />

Window Wonder<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

in November.


15<br />

(S)mall World<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

coming your way.<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


France<br />

With a clear focus on upmarket architecture and<br />

high-quality facilities, the 70,000 sq.m Polygone<br />

<br />

mall’ in France. Divided into four quarters, it<br />

will take consumers on a journey through art,<br />

shopping and leisure.<br />

Italy<br />

The 90,000 sq.m Arese shopping centre in Milan,<br />

will feature a mix of indoor and outdoor plazas,<br />

each with their own unique identity, alongside a<br />

<br />

16<br />

Romania<br />

Budapest’s ParkLake Plaza is set to become<br />

one of Eastern Europe’s most prestigious and<br />

sought-after retail locations. Situated in the heart<br />

of the city, it will serve the local community with a<br />

range of diverse retail, leisure and entertainment<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Spain<br />

Development activity in Spain was dormant in<br />

2014 with no new openings, although activity<br />

is set to rise over the next two years with the<br />

planned delivery of three new shopping centres:<br />

Abella in Lugo (28,000 sq.m), La Fira in Reus<br />

(33,000 sq.m) and S’Estada in Palma de<br />

Mallorca (44,700 sq.m). In the longer term, Intu<br />

<br />

development pipeline in key markets including<br />

Malaga, Valencia and Vigo.<br />

17<br />

Sweden<br />

New for 2015, Mall of Scandinavia is hoping to<br />

draw in big brands and breathe life back into<br />

<br />

mall, which is scheduled to open in autumn<br />

2015, comprises 250 shops and restaurants<br />

<br />

<br />

Abu Dhabi has more major retail space under<br />

development than anywhere else in the Arabian<br />

Gulf. Eight new mega shopping centres are in<br />

the retail development pipeline for Abu Dhabi<br />

over the next three years, including Aldar’s Yas<br />

Mall, which is now due to open in November and<br />

Sowwah Central, which is due to complete in<br />

2017.<br />

Only in Dubai. Plans were recently announced<br />

<br />

city, ‘Mall of the World’” in the Al Sufouh district.<br />

Developers say that the decade-long $6.8 billion<br />

project, which does not yet have a start date,<br />

will include a pedestrian walkway modelled<br />

on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, a 4.3-mile retail<br />

network of roads based on London’s Oxford<br />

Street, 20,000 hotel rooms, an indoor family<br />

theme park, and a ‘wellness district’ catering to<br />

medical tourists.<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


18<br />

It Stacks Up<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


“<br />

<br />

<br />

scale, paying real attention<br />

to detail, and putting an end<br />

<br />

19<br />

”<br />

Even though it has become a global behemoth – the<br />

world’s biggest toymaker no less – it somehow achieves<br />

a level of consistency that many retailers can only dream<br />

about. Pieces as far back as 1958, still click right in with<br />

Lego bricks made in 2015 – a truly remarkable fact.<br />

Make no mistake; its journey has been far from easy. It<br />

had to work hard to maintain its relevance, when many<br />

believed children had been lost to the digital age. Parallels<br />

<br />

place in the omnichannel world are clearly evident.<br />

Recently, it’s been the brand’s ability to marry consistency<br />

<br />

success, Lego began to relax its processes – a move which<br />

saw its design team run wild.<br />

The number of uniquely designed bricks quickly rose from<br />

7,000 to 12,400. Production costs increased, but demand<br />

didn’t follow suit.<br />

It’s a scenario that plays out on the high street all too often<br />

when retailers, faced with managing a rapidly expanding retail<br />

portfolio, lose a hold on retail standards or leave store teams<br />

to deliver the brand and ‘get creative’. That kind of carefree<br />

creativity is unsustainable and can lead to unwelcome results.<br />

Failure to successfully implement one small aspect of brand<br />

delivery can result in the whole retail experience falling down.<br />

As Lego has found, success is about maximising advantage<br />

from scale, paying real attention to detail, and putting an end<br />

to fragmented systems and ways of working. The resulting<br />

gains are always more than operational. Improving processes<br />

can have a transformational impact on the brand as a whole.<br />

A renewed focus on operational excellence has seen Lego<br />

reduce lead-times, enabling it to respond better to trends.<br />

Today, Lego has as many common components as possible<br />

<br />

reduce complexity has been the brand’s saving grace. It’s proof,<br />

if it were needed, that putting processes in place to help teams<br />

<br />

<br />

Take inspiration from Lego’s steadfast consistency. Shoppers<br />

should always know what to expect from a brand’s retail<br />

experience. That requires guidelines which communicate<br />

strategy and policy with real clarity. At the same time, retailers<br />

<br />

to respond to change. Policies around product presentation<br />

and retail standards should never just be in place purely for<br />

<br />

being able to adapt and evolve to remain relevant. Instead,<br />

they should ensure that everything retail teams do embodies a<br />

retailer’s values and ‘the brand way’ – giving them the building<br />

blocks to create a fantastic instore experience, in every store,<br />

every day.<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Talking Shop<br />

<br />

Development Manager, Visual Thinking.<br />

<br />

shoppers want to engage with, is winning retailers over. Senior<br />

<br />

<br />

It’s often a common one with many projects we embark on – demonstrating<br />

that engaging retail spaces are about much more than simply creating wow<br />

window displays or focal points. I love converting non-believers and showing<br />

<br />

retail standards and better engaging hearts and minds can have on the<br />

bottom line.<br />

<br />

Always try to think like a customer. So often people overcomplicate things.<br />

When you put yourself in the customer’s shoes, you can’t go wrong.<br />

Success requires a mindset change to ensure retail teams know how to<br />

do the right thing for the customer – it’s about the quality and not just the<br />

execution of the task. Getting it right is about more than just having an<br />

operational focus.<br />

<br />

The demands placed on physical instore spaces will continue to change<br />

<br />

<br />

stores and to give shoppers reasons to leave home and journey instore.<br />

In truth, you don’t need to do the latest thing – just invest in developing a<br />

strategy and retail principles that demonstrate a clearer understanding of<br />

your brand, your shopper and the instore environment.<br />

20<br />

Lead On<br />

Independent pet store Creature Company was<br />

the star of the show in the latest BBC Two<br />

series of Alex Polizzi – The Fixer. The existing<br />

retail environment was in a sorry state and in<br />

desperate need of upgrade – indeed nothing<br />

short of transformation – with a customer journey<br />

that was illogical and disorganised. As part of the<br />

makeover, Visual Thinking’s in-house design team<br />

created an exciting new brand identity and ‘kitsch<br />

1950s’ design theme, featuring a bright and<br />

uplifting colour palette. The customer journey itself<br />

<br />

to ensure stronger performing product lines were<br />

given greater visibility and space was allocated<br />

<br />

The result set Creature Company apart as a<br />

unique retail proposition amongst local pet shops,<br />

large and small.<br />

“The makeover is truly amazing. It has made such<br />

<br />

shop.” - Sebastien Latour, owner, Creature Company<br />

See Visual Thinking and Creature Company present


21<br />

Desert (Re)treats<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


22<br />

One of the most popular shopping destinations<br />

in the world, Dubai is a paradise for those who<br />

love retail perfection in its purest form. It is also,<br />

undoubtedly, Number 1 when it comes to mall<br />

culture. Whilst some retailers in other countries<br />

<br />

mobile and online shopping, Dubai’s malls boast<br />

an embarrassment of riches when it comes to<br />

great shopping experiences. Not just places to<br />

shop, but a constant stream of the latest brand<br />

concepts, each embodying how designers and<br />

marketing chiefs really want their brands to<br />

be seen. As a result, shoppers have plenty of<br />

reasons to leave home.<br />

<br />

for its creative window and instore displays<br />

– highlights the brand’s rebellious spirit,<br />

whilst delivering a compelling summer<br />

<br />

surfboard merchandising displays, and mix of<br />

imaginative ‘melted’ and oversized props.<br />

“<br />

...the most eyecatching<br />

<br />

<br />

the Gucci window<br />

<br />

<br />

display, delivered<br />

<br />

Elsewhere, Marina Home, the popular<br />

homegrown store selling exotic interiors,<br />

provides a masterclass in product<br />

presentation. It continues to delight and<br />

surprise with its mix of modern classics and<br />

chic contemporary designs. Sourced from<br />

over twenty countries and representing four<br />

continents, its ranges are beautifully curated<br />

instore with a relaxed ambience, strong<br />

visual narrative and high retail standards.<br />

But the most eye-catching example of great<br />

VM has to be the Gucci window – an incredibly<br />

complex window display, delivered with expertise.<br />

The Italian designer brand has built a reputation<br />

for creating exceptional window displays, and its<br />

store in Dubai is once again helping the brand to<br />

lead the way.<br />

”<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Golden Gate<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

could teach its east coast rivals a thing or<br />

<br />

San Francisco may be small in size, but it has always had big ambition. A<br />

hilly metropolis that enjoys a spectacular setting, this paradise for hipsters<br />

and hippies is a city of “Yes!” and of “Why not?”. Now it’s leading the way<br />

with outstanding VM and retail experiences at the heart of its urban agenda.<br />

<br />

<br />

“<br />

<br />

hipsters and hippies<br />

<br />

<br />

”<br />

23<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Bloom or Bust<br />

As grocery and high street brands continue<br />

to branch out into horticulture, traditional<br />

garden centres are realising there is no time for<br />

complacency.<br />

They face two hard commercial truths. Firstly, they<br />

<br />

of the traditional market for plants and gardening<br />

goods. The investment made by Wyevale Garden<br />

Centres in its latest artisan café concept reinforces<br />

that doing so is now integral to achieving<br />

sustainable growth. Secondly, they must combine<br />

their specialist credentials with retail best practice<br />

from other sectors in order to provide a compelling<br />

reason to shop.<br />

Today, such store environments must provide yearround<br />

relevance for customers – creating strong<br />

product categories and department themes,<br />

<br />

capitalising on both seasonal events and impulse<br />

purchase opportunities. All this must also be<br />

complemented by superior service instore, from<br />

knowledgeable people who provide great advice,<br />

<br />

to do their best for customers.<br />

“Revitalising the layout, path structure and how we<br />

guided customers round our centres was always<br />

<br />

chief executive of Haskins Garden Centres.<br />

“Working with Visual Thinking, we were able to<br />

evolve and adapt, yet retain what’s important to us<br />

as a brand.”<br />

24<br />

Diary Dates<br />

2015<br />

— 16<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Summit Europe 2015<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Sao Paulo, Brazil<br />

09—10 March 2016<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Check Out Essentials<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Visual Brand Audits<br />

Making lasting improvements to retail strategy and VM delivery starts<br />

by precisely identifying the issues that may be limiting your stores’<br />

potential. Our Visual Brand Audits provide a detailed assessment of<br />

what’s happening instore. And, just as importantly, the reasons why.<br />

We provide an expert critique of current store operations, customer<br />

service and retail standards, supported by statistical, photographic<br />

<br />

Digital Learning Tools<br />

To hold our attention, learning tools must be engaging and easy to<br />

understand. Our range of digital learning tools are just that. Presented<br />

in a user-friendly format, they can be used as a standalone learning<br />

resource or form part of a complete training solution. Flexible and<br />

<br />

presentation, policy implementation, product launches, seasonal<br />

events and customer service training.<br />

25<br />

<br />

<br />

VM & Retail Policy and Manuals<br />

When existing VM policy just doesn’t cut it, how about reinvigorating<br />

your stores with best-in-class retail presentation? You’ll be surprised<br />

<br />

places to shop, with products presented to maximise space and<br />

sales potential. We work across all market sectors – giving your brand<br />

access to cutting-edge presentation and display techniques.<br />

VM Training<br />

<br />

most – winning the hearts and minds of your people. That way, you<br />

can bring about lasting change, and ensure the brand experience<br />

is presented to shoppers as you intended – in every store, every<br />

day. From group workshops through to self-learning and one-to-one<br />

coaching, our engaging, easily digestible training helps people to gain<br />

essential knowledge skills, so they can recognise what good looks like<br />

and, most importantly, buy into why it matters.<br />

<br />

<br />

<strong>Counter</strong> <strong>Culture</strong>. Issue No. 2 © Visual Thinking 2015 www.visualthinking.co.uk


Bye Buy<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Join us online for retail best practice on the go, as we bring<br />

you the latest news, reviews, insights and images from our<br />

VM travels around the world.<br />

<br />

twitter.com/shoptactics<br />

<br />

instagram.com/shoptactics<br />

<br />

9 Davy Court<br />

Central Park<br />

<br />

Warwickshire<br />

CV23 0UZ<br />

<br />

+44 (0)1788 543 331<br />

mail@visualthinking.co.uk<br />

visualthinking.co.uk

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