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Stores of a Different Stripe

There’s change happening in grocery retail.

As office work starts to become de-centralised from city centres into the suburbs, there are opportunities for smaller, neighbourhood groceries to cater to ultra-local needs. They are bigger and with more choice than a convenience store, smaller and more curated than a full serve supermarket. They’re run by independent retailers with a focus on intimacy and integration into local communities. Enter the local grocers.

We’ve helped Metcash to create just such a concept. It’s called, guess what, the IGA Local Grocer.

With a new brand (created by for Metcash by The Contenders) one of the biggest design challenges we have ever faced is how to implement a new brand across a staggering variety of shops across Australia, all owned by independent retailers.

Although we designed a model store as a starting point, the vast majority of new stores are conversions form existing small IGA’s. Budget considerations mean that signage is doing the heavy lifting in creating branded environments.

In creating Signage Application Guidelines we quickly discovered that signage alone isn’t enough to state a point of difference. We needed another element that would really bring the concept to life in a cost effective way. What better to emphasise the traditional roots of the Local Grocer than a striped awning?

Of course not every shop has the opportunity to add an awning. So we developed abstracted forms of the awning, such as a vinyl application to windows, that give that traditional, local grocer flavour.

It’s been a journey in development but that one element has really helped to establish a brand and a point of difference in a network where the only consistent thing is inconsistency.

The stores are still evolving. The Epping location is run by its owners Antoine and Richard Rizk. They have spent time finding out what's relevant to their community, and personal service at the checkouts ensures that they can stay in touch with their customers' needs.

Metcash has used shopper information from millions of shopping trips to inform the brief for the store format, and it's on the way to being implemented by hundreds of independent store owners.

No two stores will be exactly the same or carry the same range. And that’s the essence of being an IGA Local Grocer!


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