The concept of selling cars in shopping malls is not new to Australia but we have never taken it that seriously, until now. Owned by Eagers Automotive and located at AMP Indooroopilly, Automall West hosts Porsche, Jaguar Landrover, VW, Honda, Subaru and Ford. Putting customer first requires more than just inventory, it requires expert staff delivering a world class service as well as a service centre in close proximity (two floor above). Automall at Indooroopilly is the precursor to the $1bn BNE Automall track project opening in 2024.
ASICS make the most technologically advanced running shoes in the world.
They also have a compelling product proposition, setting them apart from all other running shoe brands.
The new ASICS running shoe wall is the embodiment of that idea, presenting their range in a remarkable and unique way.
ASICS has spent the last forty years in Australia positioning its’ product proposition around the idea of the protection. The protection offered by its’ shoes enabling better performance for runners.
ASICS approached us to redesign their running shoe wall to create a more intuitive shopper experience by clearly separating the two categories of protection; Structured and Cushioned. The design of the new running wall gives the store team permission to ask shoppers if they know what kind of protection is best for their foot type, prompting a Foot ID on the running machine. 80% of customers who have a foot ID end up buying shoes.
We have now completed four 'Innovation' branches for Bendigo Bank since 2019 with the latest in their home town of Bendigo.
Our experience with Bendigo Bank has changed our narrative from the usual ‘Customer centric’ or ‘Immersive experiences’ to a theme with a higher purpose: Community.
The approach of delivering on the needs of a community no matter where or who it is, has become important to our work. Whether community refers to the place in which a brand operates or the commonalities that bind a community of customers together, that which we have in common is a strong and increasingly important theme for brands to demonstrate their purpose around.
We have developed a new approach to community. Rather than seeing who lives there and what type of customer they could be, the bank now looks at where the community is in its ‘health cycle’. For example, Leichhardt is currently emerging from a low ebb in the health and wellbeing of its’ community. Having suffered heavily since 2014 from the lockout laws and again since 2020 with COVID, there is much work to do in resuscitating the community behind this once thriving street scene.
Engaging like minded builders and craftspeople to procure the branch is just one of the strategies we have adopted to demonstrate an authentic approach to rebuilding the community. The bank does not see it’s role as dominant or heroic in this quest but recessive, supportive and collaborative as part of a group of local businesses who are already on this path.
We engaged local artist Shannon Crees (https://www.instagram.com/shannoncrees/?hl=en) to create the largest mural she’s ever done for the garden space.
Following the success of their collaboration on Singtel, Public Design Group and FITCH have once again joined up to create the future retail experience for Maxis, Malaysia’s leading Telco.
Malaysian’s spend a great deal of their down time in malls. Shopping in KL today, as with most developed major cities in the world, is all about experience.
Mall retailers have an inherent responsibility to engage and entertain shoppers well beyond the confines of product.
The business focus for network retailers is no longer on selling third party devices, it’s now all about raising awareness of how the internet enables better living. This leads to multiple devices, premium content, and managed services all being sold under one curated lifestyle story, for example Wellbeing.
Staff’s understanding of new devices and technology can’t be taught, it must be experienced. They are furnished with the latest devices, apps and content so that they can become expert demonstrators in store.
Brand experience over branded environment
The lack of corporate colour and the recessed store entrance is part of the Maxis corporate brand being deliberately recessive.
Shoppers believe this environment has been designed for them to experience rather than for Maxis to sell, it’s very much a ‘pull’ rather than a ‘push’ psychology. When we look at what the Maxis brand means to people, it’s not their logo, their promotions or their tone of voice any more, it’s a fantasy world that shoppers can escape into, full of optimism, colour and compelling lifestyle stories.
Rebranding a 50 year old local icon into a national power brand has been intense, raw with emotion and bursting with excitement.
A brief Introduction
Reinventing one of Australia’s longest standing retail brands has been an incredible experience for our team. A fifty year old garden centre business, hand made by a passionate Australian family approached us to rebuild their brand from the ground up. With their flagship store having traded extremely well through COVID, the brand is now gearing up for national rollout.
The entry of specialist players in any services category is a clear indication of market maturity, something the bigger players cannot ignore.
In recent years the fitness industry has undergone a major transformation with the entry of multiple overseas and smaller specialty brands entering the market. F45, Anytime Fitness and She are all examples of how gyms can expand markets by specialising in product, access or even segment. The entry of specialist players in any services market is a clear indication of market maturity, something the bigger players cannot ignore. Having designed Fitness First’s only Titanium grade club at Barangaroo two years ago, we were invited back to re-develop their flagship CBD stores.
Working in collaboration with Apple, we have repositioned Bond St for the launch of their Gym Kit App in Australia.
With a focus on the digital personalisation side of fitness, Apple have selected the most high profile gym in the largest gym network to launch. This project would not have been possible if it weren’t for the contractors MPA who never gave the impression that they were not in complete control of the juggernaut.
Simplify. Thirty screens becomes one screen in the right place (the largest ever to be deployed in a retail space in Australia). Equipment is reorganised to align with the natural auditorium shape of the space, focussing users towards the screen. Retail is consolidated, removed or redesigned to be more aligned to current customer and trainers needs. For example, replacing a pop up supplements store with a permanent customer lounge where personal trainers can comfortably interview new members has enabled a far better experience for members and trainers alike.
Barangaroo is the first and only Titanium grade Fitness First club in Australia. We were commissioned to take the club experience to a new level of luxury, convenience and status.
“Imagine a place where, as a Queenslander, you would feel comfortable talking about things that matter the most with someone you’ve just met...”
RACQ is one of Queensland’s largest insurance companies and has recently merged with a bank. They are currently #2 in the KPMG best customer experiences in Australia and are in the Roy Morgan top 10 most trusted brands in Australia.
The merger with QTMB poses a significant challenge for the RACQ brand as it has a strong association with motor vehicles but less association with consumer banking. At the core of this challenge lies the need for RACQ to transition from a trust built around its existing insurance and assistance business to a trust associated with everyday banking. Added to this is the challenge that all banks face with retail – they don’t sell tangible product.
We know the experience has to resonate with the outdoor life Queenslanders revere. It also needs a significant residential reference to build credibility in the category of home that lies at the core of banking.
Working alongside the awesome Brand Behaviour in designing a service experience that supports every likely transition from an insurance relationship to an everyday banking one whilst allowing two very disparate legacy service cultures to merge seamlessly.
This site is currently processing five times as many home loan applications as the previous QTMB bank in North Lakes Shopping centre.
This project represents a significant step for consumer banking in Australia by taking the retail brand experience to a whole new level.
Cars sell in a less pressured environment.
A common sense fact you’d think, but one that is changing an industry.
We have seen cars in shopping centres for years, it’s nothing new. Typically though they are seen in casual leasing spaces between the stores, adorned with competition rules and hired talent designed to distract you on your journey to Woolies. Subaru have recently uncovered a remarkable insight around selling cars in shops in shopping centres. We wish we could claim it as our idea but the brilliant brains at Subaru brought it to us. The insight is simple; people don’t expect to buy a car from the mall, they are therefore completely unprepared to deal with the mental challenge of doing so. Instead, they are delightfully surprised to see cars in shops – it’s a novelty – “Shall we just sit in one?”
The emerging trend of automotive mall stores (also see Volvo at Westfield Parramatta and JLR Westfield Bondi) presents a window of opportunity for car retailers in Australia. It’s only a window because as we know, as soon as the other car brands follow, the landlords will club them all together in one wing of the mall for a more ‘convenient’ shopper experience and over night the first mover advantage will disappear. The challenge therefore is to create an experience that is differentiated in a way that future proofs the brands approach to mall retailing.
We have deliberately moved as far away from the typical showroom experience as possible, blending retail lifestyle merchandising and photography with the cars in a way that allows shoppers to consider the broader context of why they would choose one model over another. We have interpreted the new Subaru ‘Do’ brand positioning for each model of car in the Subaru stable, creating a lifestyle story around the purpose of each model.
Overlayed with the model specific stories being told, we have introduced a 3D illuminated exhibition piece around the new Subaru Global Platform, showing off the world leading technology of the chassis now being used in all current models.
On the back of the success of the new Subaru Do store at Werribee, Inchcape have since engaged us to work alongside Centric architects on the JLR showroom at Westfield Bondi junction. As well as mall retailing, our work with Subaru is now entering its next phase with further new retail formats being developed in order to protect its category leading position as innovative retailers.
Our biggest challenge has been convincing the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) HQ brand team in the UK that Bondi Junction presents a unique opportunity as it’s the home of their future high value customer.
On the back of the success of the Subaru Werribee project we have been commissioned to add a little pizzazz to the standard JLR showroom format for this unique opportunity at Westfield Bondi Junction.
Yes, of course we need to sell cars but the overarching reason for this particular showroom is to present the product in such a way that it is aligned with the other luxury brands being showcased to the same audience in this Black Label mall. This means having a greater emphasis on product desirability and pushing the brand / heritage story into the background, something that at first, HQ were not all together comfortable with.
Suffice as to say our approach has been sensitive. Demonstrating that sculpting the physical nature of the site around the presentation of two hero cars is the best way to engage this audience, nothing else matters. Working in partnership with local incumbent agency, the awesome Centric Architects, we have created an ‘inside out’ showroom where the branded environment and sales experience is secondary to hero product display, presented in this case as ‘Jewels in a jewellery box’.
Other than Milan, this is the only JLR showroom in the world to feature a curved design and apparently top brass at HQ are in love with it.