Jos de Vries The Retail Company: Retailing needs change

How to transfer to the fifth retail generation

Without doubt, the current financial crisis will change consumer behaviour and shopping patterns at unprecedented rates. Retailers, who want to survive, will have to radically rethink their position and strategy over the coming period. Inevitably, the key-phrase in this process of change will be ‘how to stay connected with my customer’.
How, as a retailer, is it possible in these difficult times to identify with customers and serve their changing requirements effectively? Retailers who wait for customers to come to them to share their new ideas, will probably have missed the boat. Retailers therefore, should be proactively seeking out customers and trying to understand their changing needs.
So get out there and find out what they want, take it back to your store tomorrow and … explain how much you care and demonstrate your willingness to help.
That economic and social trends impact on retailing is, of course, nothing new. The retail industry is influenced by social change like no other. Developments taking place today define the behaviour of the shopper tomorrow, the reason why the retail sector is often run on a day-to-day basis. Successful retailers however, know that day-to-day operations have to take place within the framework of a long-term strategy.
With the consumer being bombarded with a constant flow of bad news, formulating a long-term strategy is no easy task. To do this effectively, it is necessary to understand the development of the retail business and to look at it retrospectively. Current developments in retailing can be defined as the transformation from the third to fourth generation concepts. This change is already underway, but the process is being stepped up by current economic developments.

Retail generations
The traditional small-sized corner shop was the first generation in retailing. These ‘Pappa and Mamma stores’ had a strong social relationship with the customer.
This first retail generation was the first stage in the disassociation of producer and consumer. Before that, producer and retailer were one and the same: the baker sold his own bread and the farmer sold his own vegetables at market.
Later, in the second retail generation, the first supermarkets evolved. The direct social relationship between retailer and consumer disappeared. Now price, product range and location became the determining factors connecting customers with the store.
In the eighties and nineties, third generation retail concepts began to develop. Retail marketing was introduced; from store concept to store brand. The store focused on its own customer-base and, with the right communication and concept, a strong store identity was created to differentiate itself from the competition. Many retailers are still engaged in the process of store-brand creation and market differentiation.
A few retailers are now entering the fourth retail generation: multi-format concepts. This means that they are targeting individual consumers using different formats, at different locations and a different times of the week. Segmentation is the keyword in this process of change. It goes without saying that retailers entering the fifth retail generation - multi-format and multi-channel - are few and far between.
In this fifth generation, the retailer has almost total control, optimising management of the complete flow of goods from producer to customer … and in doing so, they are closing the circle: industry and retailer are almost synonymous once again.

Having to change to stay the same
Retailing is about running the day-to-day operations, especially in such turbulent times as today … but always based on a long-term strategy. This long-term strategy is not as difficult as it may seem. Just determine the stage of development your company is at, compare this to overall developments in the retail industry and connect up to these developments.
Join the fourth retail generation now and, when you’re ready to take the leap, go for the fifth generation - multichannel and multiformat - and take total control!

Cook it! Unit – Unilever in Plusmarkt supermarket chain

The supermarket as place of obtaining ideas and finding solutions is a tool for customer loyalty and branding. Unilever approahed Jos de Vries The Retail Company to develop an unit with meal components. The power of the concept is the combination of refrigerated fresh products with Unilever Bestfood groceries, together assuring a complete qualitative meal.

The impact of this stand and the graphics, focusing on fast, delicious and healthy meals have to attract the customers to purchase these products. In an early stage the Plusmarkt in The Netherlands was involved with the developments of the concept, resulting in a lot of testwith the different systems. The choice for the final stand (see pictures) has resulted into a solution for meal choices and has showed a big increase in sales. Plusmarkt and Unilever will place this model in all the different Plusmarkt supermarkets in the Netherlands.

Jos de Vries The Retail Company The Netherlands

Doove is a store for people with a handicap

from Jan Kroon

They can order wheelchairs and other equipment to deal with the physical problems they have to solve. It sounds like a store without happiness.We choose for another view on this kind of customer. Most of them are not pettyfull.
They have a very positive view on life and why shoudn't we make that feeling stronger by creating an enjoyfull environment. Most of the time there are familymembers (friends) who are coming with the handicapped customer and why don't we trigger them also to buy things for a healthy life. So we've made a wellness departmentstore with enjoyfull/ healthy products on the groundfloor like spa-baths, fitness equipment, sauna's, relaxing-massage chairs, soap, towels etc.
To make a statement for this concept we designed a juicebar and terrace on this floor connected to a health library/shop, an informal spot where you can talk with the staff members and have a healthy drink.
The second floor shows the sleeping part of life healthy beds (components), pillows, knee chairs etc. The upperlevel shows scootmobils, wheelchairs, special bikes. To make this level more attractive and sportive the customers can test the products on a testingtrack whit obstacles.On the wall you can see moodphoto's whith a bright view on life, the challenges we have to overwin. Al the floors are connected through a high 'bamboe' wall wich is standing in the middle of the open space. From there you can have an overview of all the product groups.

Zeeman: a well-known name in the European textile industry for the past 40 years

With more than 1,000 shops in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and France, the textile discounter has expanded into a trusted and successful chain over the past 40 years.
The basic assumption in modernising the Zeeman formula was to chart a safe course: rather than revolutionary solutions, refine the formula in layout and visual identity as well as merchandise mix.

The sales tables that formed the trusted image of the formula have been entirely revamped in the new design. The new, contemporary and flexible design was created in close cooperation with Hemi Winkelinrichting. Customers still have that market feeling, which always characterised the formula. Racks have also been added to the shop, which has given Zeeman the opportunity to present an optimal merchandise mix.

The various groups of merchandise are presented together within the product groups. This provides ‘worlds’ where the customer can easily examine the complete line. To emphasize this, ‘hotspots’ have been made in the layout, where the changing and more trendy merchandise are presented. The ‘Hotspots’ are indicated on the walls, within the Zeeman identity, with blue polycarbonate plate.

The major challenge for Jos de Vries The Retail Company was the danger of not being able to upgrade the formula. Zeeman is a successful discount formula, which is still the case in the first pilot store in Alkmaar (The Netherlands), according to customers. We wish Zeeman a safe voyage with the further roll-out of the concept!

Jos de Vries The Retail Company develops supermarket of the new generation in Galicia (Spain): Aquí é

Modern design, the use of new technologies and a well-balanced assortment based on healthy groceries are united in the formula Aqui é, the new concept of the Cuevas Group. Jos de Vries The Retail Company has developed this new generation supermarket concept, the concept can be best described by the three key words speed, taste and health.

This innovative supermarket in Ourense (North-West of Spain) has a “star”-department, where an interactive menu is offered, with suggestions of healthy meals. The consumers can obtain these menus in three different ways: completely prepared, on a dish to prepare a certain amount or by ingredient. The other important novelty is the “single row”, this is to evoid that the customer gets the idea that the other row goes faster.

The new formula uses several progressive new technologies, the cooling equipment with innovative design (designed by Smeva), lightning with low consumption of electricity, a system of electronical price tags generating the right price of the product and bio-friendly packaging.

All this has been created to give the client maximum transparency and guarantees, in a social and ecological way. The reaction of the clients to the new concept is very positive, while Jos de Vries The Retail Company and Grupo Cuevas continue to convert more supermarkets into the Aqui é concept.

Multimate: “an evolution, not a revolution”

The DIY formula Multimate is updated by Jos de Vries The Retail Company.
Multimate is the number 5 DIY formula in Holland. The markets are ‘smaller’ stores, in comparison to formula’s like PRAXIS, GAMMA, KARWEI and HORNBACH.

The colours and signing of the ‘old’ Multimate concept where developed more than 10 years ago. However, the ‘old’ Multimate concept was successful.
For this reason the update was supposed to be an evolution, not a revolution.

The Multimate pilot store in Losser (NL)

Just before 20 Big Boss DIY markets were rebuild into Multimate DIY markets the concept update was finished.
Furthermore Jos de Vries The Retail Company.advised in the new energy saving lighting concept.

The products are with the new concept better illuminated, and the power supply is reduced.
For every former Big Boss store, a new Multimate façade was drawn.

New façade concept, new logo, higher entrance, banners, service signing

The supermarket flower display

On behalf of Bloemenbureau Holland (Flower Board Holland), Jos de Vries has collaborated in giving flowers and plants in European supermarkets a more professional and suitable presentation for the product.

Bloemenbureau Holland is a non-profit organisation designed, through specialisation and cooperation, to improve the sales potential of flowers and plants far beyond our borders, thereby boosting trade.

The project, the optimal display, brings together all the knowledge from the sector to inform, inspire and reach solutions for a number of practical challenges on the shop floor. The problem definition focuses on the following questions:

• What kind of role can the display fulfil for product classification (differences in length, guidelines for colour, maintenance, consumer purchasing criteria)?
• What can be done to tempt the shopping consumer and highlight the incentive?
• What kind of simple solutions can we offer for the practical aspects inherent in the flower and plant category: water, shelf life, knowledge on the shop floor?
• How can we create more experience with/on the shelf? Cross merchandising, branding, other means of communication, lighting must be integrated.

To illustrate the results of the project and to encourage retailers to consider flowers as a full-fledged category or for an impulse purchase, Jos de Vries has designed a flower display to be presented at the Horti Fair 2008.

The display satisfies three basic conditions:
- Increase the impulse value through clearly-defined communication and a modular display.
- Differentiate within flowers and plants and make this known. A private label, premium and biological classification is legitimate.
- Improve the perception of flowers and plants. Flowers and plants are fresh products.

If, as a retailer, you’d like to boost your flower and plant sales, we invite you to develop with us.
Contact: for further information.

What we do

Jos de Vries the Retail Company is one of the leading concept and design agencies in Europe. We owe this position mainly to the way in which we approach the market and to our corporate vision. We offer our clients practical, market-driven solutions that give them a competitive edge. Thus our clients will generate higher volumes of consumers visiting their stores, who will buy more and who will return to the stores more frequently. To achieve this we link creative ideas and designs to a commercial vision. In developing successful store concepts we focus on store identity and interior concept when it comes to communicating with consumers.
Pivotal to this approach is the alignment of store layout, design, graphics, exterior and visual merchandising. In this document you will read about the activities necessary in case of the redevelopment of a store formula, instore concept or store location.

1. Strategy Development
The store concept is founded on a market approach and a market strategy. Who do I want to be for my consumers and what do I want to offer them? What is my added value relative to other parties in the market place? How do I stay ahead of my competitors? How do I create consumer loyalty?
Practicable visions, developed from practical experience. Insight into consumer behaviour. Being a sparring partner to clients. Offering solutions. Devising the right basic principles.

2. Developing a layout
The store layout is the foundation of the store formula. Routing, orientation, focal points and assortment structure are key notions. Whether you have a surface of 100 or 10,000 m2, the store layout is the foundation from where you build all your other developments. A spatial vision linked to knowledge of the market are the input.

3. Store Design
Colour, materials and spatial perception in relation to the lighting concept constitute the foundation of consumers’ instore emotional experience. Architectural principles combined with commercial concepts bring the store to live. The visualisation in the designing process through blueprints, mood boards and computer impressions provide insight into the future store image

4. Exterior image
The first impression people get of the store. How the store presents itself to the world. Striking a balance between environment and concept. Providing transparency. Showing who you are. The exterior has to be capable of reeling in the consumer. Recognisability, attractiveness and quality are key notions. The right presentation in the design phase is what's needed to persuade people.

5. Store Graphics
Communicating with your customers in words and images. Who am I, what values do I represent? Expanding and supporting the brand. Giving off price signals and providing information. Only if you have a conceptual structure to back up your store graphics that is integrated in the corporate identity as a whole, it will help build the overall concept. Creative vision and developments combined with computer animations are necessary tools here.

6. Visual Merchandising
It’s not about what you sell, it’s how you sell it. Presenting your merchandise in a way that will really do the selling for you. Opting for a conceptual approach does not only call for development, it also needs support and training. Not just in the week of the grand opening, but realising an optimum store image week after week calls for process-based thinking, where the store staff become the critical success factor. This is the domain of seasoned specialists.

Literature retail marketing: Let me tell you a store

Let me tell you a store (2008)The world is moving at a breakneck speed. Everyone seems to be looking for new opportunities. Is choice an imposing possibility? Is innovation the magical word?
In “Let me tell you a store” European retailers, designers, strategists and trend watchers tell their personal and inspiring stories. No fairy tales but retail in every little detail.
Who are you? Where do you stand for? Let the store be the place to tell your story to the customer. The theory of our successful Store Manual, now described in practice.

Who are we?

Since many years Jos de Vries The Retail Company is a well-known organisation in the retail business. We are specialised in analysing, designing and realysing shop concepts all over Europe.

We know for a fact that the successful presentation of shops and products can not only bring about a positive image but also achieve above-average successes. But how can the retailer anticipate and react to the trends of today and the developments of tomorrow? And how do you transform a shop-identity into a brand-identity and still be distinctive from other shop formulas?

Your total solution supplier in retail!

We can help you with this. Through shop-analysis, a strategic plan and the development of a complete and unique shop concept design we provide you a total solution for your formula. Furthermore, you benefit from our long-term customer supervision and you rapidly realise the positive influence small details have on large balances.

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