Retail Experience Consultancy Quinine has been awarded silver at this year’s DBA Design Effectiveness awards. Their store design for EE which was entered jointly by client and designer, was judged rigorously by industry leaders, including CEOs from FTSE100 and some of the UK’s leading brands. The awards represent independent and authoritative recognition of the unambiguous value of design.
The new design is highly successful, outperforming EE’s existing estate on a diverse range of metrics and positively impacting the businesses’ commercial results and customer experience. These results champion the transformative power of design and build confidence in the value of design investment. They prove how powerful partnership between clients and designers can be in creating retail environments that help businesses succeed.
Following EE’s acquisition by BT in 2016, Quinine was appointed to create a new store design that would help reposition the brand as a forward thinking, modern digital brand. The new design needed to meet the following objectives; increase conversion rates, improve the average transaction value, drive new customers in store, increase overall customer satisfaction and give customers more reasons to make return visits.
The new store design democratises technology and makes it more approachable, by simply and clearly communicating how EE’s technology can ‘make the everyday better.’ To achieve this, the traditional store layout was reconfigured and new touch points added, to create an immersive environment which facilitates conversations between customers and the store’s staff. Named the ‘Showcase’ store design, the objective was to showcase products and services alongside great customer service, through a design that would increase customer involvement and provide a space where customers can explore and interact with products and services.
Reconfiguring the store and creating new design features like the ‘Showcase Stage,’ ‘Help Hub,’ and privacy booths, the design redefines the customer in-store journey and shopper missions to create an environment conducive to deepening the customer relationship via effective face-to-face and product interactions.
The new layout challenges the industry norm – handsets traditionally placed at the front of the store were moved to the back wall encouraging customers to travel through the space, creating opportunities to disrupt their journey on the way whilst also showcasing EE’s offer.
By designing the new store experience around Confucius’ words ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn,’ Quinine created an interactive mood that welcomes customers in and gives them permission to get involved with EE’s latest technology and network innovations on mobiles, tablets and TVs and test out the latest live handsets and products such as Google Home, Apple Watch, EE Live TV, BT Sport and VR headsets.
“We included elements throughout the journey that encourage involvement and facilitate a comfortable, relaxing, face-to-face experience for both customers and staff,” said Ian Johnston, Founder and Creative Director at Quinine.
Gone is the traditional cash desk. All physical barriers and hierarchy between staff and customers have been removed and staff have been equipped with tablets allowing customers to transact and get help anywhere in the store. By relocating services from the back of the store, the new ‘help hub’ feature is in the centre of the space, creating a focal point that places service at the heart of EE’s offer.
Highly visible from the street, the Showcase ‘stage’ at the front of the shop provides a new space for curated interactive brand experiences from EE and their partner brands. Manned by partner brands experts, they add to the customer in-store experience. Changing every few weeks, these experiential branded takeovers create fresh interest, encouraging repeat visits and drawing new customers in.
Throughout the store are multiple service touch points allowing customers to have different levels of consultations with EE advisors from the ‘help hub’ and café style seating for relaxed chats, to privacy booths that allow for more in-depth and complex conversations, providing space for demonstrations and product interaction – the best way for customers to learn bout, and buy into EE’s offer.
In addition, EE wanted to inject a commercially effective element of the design into all its stores across the estate. The client chose the new mid-floor ‘highlight’ display. The highly visible versatile display is able to facilitate a range of visual mediums and the ability to incorporate new graphic solutions, future-proofing the display.
“The new design has had a transformative effect on EE and BT, helping them reposition themselves as leaders on the high street,” added Ian.