Creating a retail concept, targeted at young people who live in or commute through city centers, that supports unplanned shopping missions and facilitates having tasty and balanced meals for the next 24 hours. In 2015, Colruyt Group approached us to develop an idea that was launched by a visionary employee. After helping with tuning the briefing, the challenge was to create a concept that would strengthen the position of the retailer in city centers, to attract new audience and provide an answer to changing shopper motivations, habits and preferences, such as seeking 24/7 instant fulfilment.
We designed all the components and touchpoints of a modern retail concept: the offering, the space and its services in and beyond the physical location. Other than that, we also did the foundations of the product assortment and the means to quickly find instant fulfilment in that assortment by designing a visual identity, a concept for interior and functional furniture and an app concept.
We helped in developing the initial idea by exploring and generating the mission and vision of the retail concept, analyzing and defining its target audience and stakeholders, and finally translating it into challenges that had to be solved.
Developing a strong identity is a cornerstone in delivering new commercial concepts, as it should immediately reflect what value the consumer can expect. To facilitate conceptualization of services, products, architecture and interiors, we first created an identity that matched the lifestyle of the audience. After interviewing and analyzing how the target audience chooses to spend their time to shop and to dine, we envisioned experiences in storyboards that explained the newly designed journeys. From these service scenarios, we designed all the components and touchpoints of a modern retail concept: the offering, the space and its services in and beyond the physical location. We designed the foundations of the product assortment and the means to quickly find instant fulfilment in that assortment by designing a visual identity, a concept for the interior and furniture and an app concept.
Prior to discussing the concept, we needed to enable stakeholders to quickly empathize with the target audience. With short presentation slots in mind, a short movie depicting the lives of the target audience was created. The journeys and different concepts were illustrated in detail to make sure the experience was communicated well. To make sure the visceral elements such as light & color recipes were simulated realistically, we built a miniature physical model with working lighting and service details.
The retail concept is a small convenience store that blurs the lines between retail and gastronomy, and will be located near busy places, such as railway stations or city centers. It will be open 24/7. We chose to build an identity around ‘appearance recipes’: adapting the total experience to the time of day by changing the lighting, color, store interior & lay-out and assortment and really convey the atmosphere of mornings, lunches, dinner and nighttime consumption.
Visitors of the store who are looking for a quick solution can significantly reduce the hassle of choice and their time in-store by picking from a central “moments-counter”: a piece of furniture that has an assortment for each moment during the day. The counter will be re-oriented during the day, so that a relevant offer is always in the closest proximity of the checkout. Reorienting the counter will also change the appearance of the store: the total experience is altered by a change in lighting, messages displayed on the screens, such as weather forecast that day or local evening events to attend, etc..
The assortment is organized around these times with emphasis on facilitating choice and reducing time in preparation without compromising quality. To be able to pull this off, common items are supplemented with a private label. For each moment, there are ready to heat/eat items as well as inspirational menus with curated self-serve ingredient counters. To be able to match the lifestyle of the target audience, digital services and an app integrate into the experience by providing features that support the journeys: messaging about products, reserving breakfast pick-ups, notifying about new menu’s that match food preferences of couples and groups, offering traffic and commuting insights, etc.