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  • GARY McCARTNEY

The 5 'BUTS' of retail design

1. Physical BUT digital


The total customer experience is made up of both the digital and the physical experiences.


The “phygital experience” can be endless aisle, click and collect or simply navigating the store in synch with the website. But digital also works in the social sense - we need to provide a store environment that’s shareable. That means designing in those Instagram moments.


Our concept for Jaycar mixes physical retail with online sales, click and collect, and bookable group classes supported by digital aids. Plus, its distinctive interior design makes it instantly recognisable on social media.

Jaycar maker hub retail experience centre

2. Global BUT local


Our design for KitKat Chocolatory is a showcase for a global brand, but is tailored to the Sydney market in its product and service offering. Along with a customer journey that responds to the way Sydneysiders browse and shop.

KitKat Chocolatory retail experience store in Sydney

3. Clever BUT cheap


Everyone loves high-concept, low-cost.


At the luxury end of the market you can spend a million dollars on a staircase! But, for the most part, retail is about being clever on a shoestring. We’ve recently created a store concept for Barbeques Galore that revolutionises their traditional layout and presentation but costs the same as their previous stores.

Store concept for Barbeques Galore

4. Functional BUT fun


Who says everyday retail like supermarkets and convenience stores can’t be fun? “No more boring stores” is our mantra.


We’ve brought brighter moments into both convenience and discount grocery stores, like this SUPA VALU supermarket in Ballina. It’s big, bright and full of deals - and arguably fun to shop.

SUPA VALU supermarket in Ballina

5. New BUT familiar


Innovation is vital in retail - you can’t stand still. But to introduce innovation everyone has to understand it - not just the designer and the retailer. If we can introduce new ways of shopping by re-purposing known formats, or just presenting the same goods in a more relevant way, it’s the best and most successful way to do it.


Here’s an example of how we re-grouped merchandise at SuperCheap Auto by shopping occasion rather than category, and then wrapped the whole thing around a central store experience.


A new way of doing it but very clear and obvious to the customer. The overall effect is that it’s easier to shop and buy - which is why you want to innovate in the first place.

A new way to shop at SuperCheap Auto