Concept Store by De Haan Group at the Spoga Gafa, Cologne – Germany

January 1st, 2016 by retail design blog

The world around us is changing rapidly. Nothing new about that. But what about the way garden centres fit into this changing world? We foresee that garden centres are on the threshold of a new way of retailing. As a design and consultancy bureau with a specialisation in garden centres, EFSA member De Haan Group developed and converted a 500m2 surface into a real Concept Store.


The turning point is there! How to make sure that a garden centre will be an attractive and pleasant place where people like to spend time? And even more importantly: which product presentations ensure that people actually decide to buy?


In the Concept Store we wanted to give the entrepreneur the experience of how his garden centre could look like in the future. “We communicate with the retailer, but eventually he is the one to bring the message to the customer” says Laurens Doesborgh ‐ commercial director with De Haan Group. “We showed clear concepts, which can be implemented in garden centres tomorrow. It is not about heavily investing money, it is about putting you customer first.”


The Concept Store showed people how things can be done and experienced differently. We wanted to show the future by focusing on 3 themes: Sustainability, Transparency and Hospitality. This is what is important and what the world (and customer) is asking for.


Sustainability. 
The customers expects the retailer to be clear about his own efforts for a more sustainable world. We showed how to convey this feeling to the consumer but above all how to communicate this. Local production, production of renewable energy, water management and working conditions serve as a good example in this respect. Let sustainability work for you!

Transparency.
Today’s consumer knows what he wants and how much it should cost. He looks for reliability and is searching for the honest story. As a company you have to be aware of this. Help your customer by giving him clear answers. The Concept Store provided some starting points and tools how to deal with the customer. Transparency about price and origin is a must. This does not mean that you should step into a negative price spiral.

Having the right products, the right customer, an own product range, cross selling products will ensure that the customer will find his way to the garden centre not only for now but also in the future. Besides interesting “garden terrace” concepts, we presented some solutions for the home. An important development in this respect is “blurring” the assortment “pot‐plant-deco”. We focused on some smaller “problems” such as windowsill and side table. Your customer will be looking for solutions based on style, not for products.

The main isle of the Concept Store became “Memory Lane”.
Along this “Memory Lane” we presented integrated solutions. Product presentations of already available products, but presented in a different way. Think of ‘moments’ like ”Sunday Morning”, or “Walking the dog”. Combined with the matching Spotify playlist which is actually playing there and stimulates extra senses, we take the customer on a journey to re‐create that moment (with wine glasses, pillows, outdoor candles for that friday afternoon moment with friends!). Use the digital world as an extra tool and do not look at it as a threat!

Another example: use Pinterest walls to provide extra inspiration for your customers; show them what ‘the world’ does with a balcony or vertical gardening. Hospitality was the key word for the Concept Store.

A place to stay, a place to remember and a place you would like to return to (unfortunately not possible with our temporary Concept Store).

The garden centre as a meeting place and more than just a place with a staggering range of products. What gives a better feeling than working in a green and healthy environment? We have the answer to this question!

Concept Store 2016
The same basic issues will remain topical and will be further exploited. We will bring you another distinctive character with new concepts! Above all we want to offer the customer an experience which we even want to extend. We foresee that virtual reality will play a major role in this respect.

Design: De Haan Group

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