Global award winning architects RCG are breaking down barriers between physical, online and mobile retail experiences for the world’s largest online optical retailer, Clearly, with the opening of an impressive New Zealand flagship store. The largest global manufacturer and online retailer of designer eyewear, Clearly recently opened its first retail boutique in Auckland’s CBD, delivered by RCG, specialists in property, architecture and design, and research and strategy.
John Lenihan, Director, RCG says the Clearly brief was to secure a suitable location and develop a state-of-the-art store design with a powerful presence that creates a 24 hour, visually compelling brand statement. This direction builds on a strategic RCG retail design strength – the ability to create innovative retail experiences with a commercial approach.
“Clearly has an impressive digital sales model, with an efficient, seamless and profitable online retail presence,” says Mr Lenihan. “Our aim was to fully integrate the brand’s physical touch point in the brand experience, and create a dynamic environment where consumers, products and information are free to engage.”
Geoff Henshaw, Managing Director, Clearly explains the move into the retail space: “Our model has been working successfully in New Zealand for the past five years – in fact, the brand is the fastest growing online optical retailer in the region. Building on this success, we decided it was time to take our operation here to the next level.”
The project was delivered in a five week timeframe, by first securing a high profile site on Queen Street, followed by an intense design phase and three week fit out period – all completed on time and under budget.
A key design feature of the new store is a seamless product display wall, based on the convex shape of an eye. With dimmers and programmable LED lights in the display, the wall can be transformed to create various moods and showcase eyewear 24/7. This unique solution was recently announced as a finalist of the coveted Interior Craftsmanship Award.
“Traditionally, backlit eyewear displays look clinical and are typically modular, wall mounted light-boxes with clear acrylic prongs to hold the product in place,” says Mr Lenihan. “We reconsidered the aesthetic experience, while still harnessing key functional aspects of traditional display systems, namely the ability to backlight, showcase and allow ease of access to products.”
Another aspect is the customer service bar, crafted from American oak. This acts as a digital touch point where customers can be ‘informed’, ‘rewarded’ and make a purchase. Lenihan explains the expansion from ‘clicks to bricks’ can provide challenges, however the end result demonstrates the Clearly brand value, and builds trust through tangible means and people.
“At RCG, solving challenges is at the heart of our business, and we’re focused on delivering the ultimate solutions for our clients. Clearly wanted expert direction and guidance to ascertain the best way to utilise its physical presence – so we aligned the latest in retail thinking with its business, brand and goals to deliver a world class flagship store that provides an innovative and engaging retail presence for the brand.”