Here’s part two in our two part series (part one here), where we speak to Whippet’s original founder in the UK and Principal Director to find out what ticks his retail boxes.
How many ways can you say SALE?
Infinite, but generally the most effective way of saying something is to use the language we were given. The word ‘SALE’ seems to do well enough for most retailers doesn’t it? I certainly know what to expect when I see it.
Coles is a key client for Whippet in Australia. What’s been you favourite project for them?
Probably the project that brought most satisfaction was changing the way fresh produce was presented through point-of-sale in back in 2010. We devised a graphic style nicknamed ‘Woodstock’ (pictured), drawing on influences from real food markets, that formed the basis for all campaigns for the next few years and can still be seen in stores today. Another key project was the creation of the ’Value Ring’, the red circle you see around all price points. That brought a low level consistency to the brand and a recognisable ’Colesness’ to every piece of promotional marketing across all channels. The early years of the Coles turnaround were exciting times, with client and agencies all pulling in the same direction and driving significant change. It’s great to see some of those original ideas still performing for the brand today and of course to still be there helping it grow further.
How can a store convey ‘quality’ and ‘value’?
A ‘quality’ feel can be conveyed through many touchpoints in the customer journey, from the fixtures and finishes of the store design itself to the graphic treatment of the point-of-sale. Staff interaction with customers is also vitally important. I think a store should be authentic to its brand rather than trying to portray a false sense of ‘quality’, but all retailers should alway strive to improve the customer experience whatever form that takes. A client once expressed concern that a design we had presented was too aspirational for their audience which I felt was rather insulting to the customer. Surely every customer deserves better? ‘Value’ is a tricky word and one which is often mistaken to mean ‘low price’. True customer perception of value is gained through a combination of shopping experience, the product itself and the price paid for it. Value is not simply about being the lowest price, it’s about having the most compelling combined offering.
What are your all-time top five retailer brands?
So many to choose from but notable names are…
IKEA for their ruthless efficiency, originality and continual design improvement, all delivered with a winning personality.
JOHN LEWIS (UK) for proudly championing a unique business structure and their understated tone of voice.
NEXT (UK) for shaking up perceptions of high street fashion in the eighties and for the beautifully designed, but clearly horribly expensive to print, Next Directory.
WALMART should be acknowledged for defining an all-in-one-store model that has influenced retailers around the world.
SELFRIDGES in London for simply being the best department store in the world (in my humble opinion). Expensive it often is, but it has never let me down and is always a voyage of wonder and discovery.
Steve Stoner is Whippet’s original founder in the UK and Principal Director. Over the past 25 years, he’s worked closely with some of the world’s best retailers like Coles, Tesco, Target and many more.