I stopped shopping at Minimax a few years ago because I was bored with the experience. Their colour coordinated windows caught my eye last week so I popped in for a peek. To my surprise the instore VM had been given more than a quick spring spritz. Colour matched product stories, some fabulous instore moments (my pic of the gardening goodies doesn't do the creative team's work justice) made it a joy to explore the store. Cleaner lines and clarity of the various product zones made me linger longer than I had here in a long time. The staff were cheerier and proud of the new look. There were no new fixtures, flooring or lighting etc. just re-jigging of the product to create visual impact. I also walked out after handing over the credit card... so the change is obviously working! Big thanks to the Minimax team for letting me snap away and share this story.
Lots of mini vm for max effect
I kicked off Spring with a trip to Sydney and discovered who puts the hoo in woo. The talented trio of Woo sisters have a superb shop that hits all the marks mentioned in the Starbucks story below. Their clever functional fashion (made here in Oz) is combined with a unique collection of little curios that make gorgeous gifts for girls. Silly me didn't ask the name of the lovely lady running the shop, but she deserves a mention for her smile and customer service style. I'd love to sit down and have High Tea with the three Mrs Woo's. Over a soothing cup of Ooolong & cucumber sandwich I'd suggest they open a store in Melbourne. High Tea with Mrs Woo can be found at number Seventy Too, Oxford Street Paddington, or on line at the same name dot com dot a u (a gorgeous web site by the way).
Consumers & community
As a speaker on international retail trends the pressure is always on to find new presentation content that is aspirational, relevant to the audience right now and a sprinkling of useful ideas about how they might continue to steer their stores in the direction that consumers covet. Over the past couple of years we have seen the cookie cutter approach to design being ditched by multi-store brands and replaced with a push to authenticity and relevance to the local neighbourhood. Back of house operations remain the same whilst the customer interface is customised to ensure the shop is considered cool in the local postcode. The cafe pictured above could easily be in my neighbourhood. In fact its 15th Ave Tea and Coffee in Seattle by, yes, Starbucks! (can we have their local relevance store revamp here in Oz please). Industrial chic and reclaimed materials with context have been all the rage in retail land for the past few years. So what's next? My guess is more personalisation, more curation, more quirky, more warmth, more connection to the arts and community networks, more multi use of store spaces during and after trading hours and of course, the million dollar+ question... how the hell you modularise all that for roll outs with local relevance? Naturally you are likely to need clued on bods like POD on your brand/design development team!