Turning Creativity into Results

Christiaan Rikkers, General Manager of Jos de Vries The Retail Company:
The retail market is evolving and becoming international. Formulas develop into brands with values the customer recognises. When looking for powerful shopping concepts, more and more retailers consult Jos de Vries The Retail Company. This can only be explained by one thing according to General Manager, Christiaan Rikkers. “Our ‘Turning Creativity into Results’ slogan is fulfilled on a daily basis.”

Linking creativity to the customer’s commercial vision and translating this into result-oriented conceptual solutions. It is this approach that has made Jos de Vries The Retail Company a successful business. “We have grown as an agency in the past three years”, explains General Manager, Christiaan Rikkers. A good example of this is ‘New Value Retailing’, an innovative retail concept that combines price, assortment and value and has already taken shape in a number of hypermarkets. This idea has caught on in the retail sector, as more return can be achieved on the same floor space and shops can create a better market profile for themselves. This is exactly what the retail business is looking for: shopping concepts that work. Rikkers: “We are a pragmatic agency, and retail only comes down to one thing, i.e. the quick recovery of investment. We realise this by thinking along with the customer, all the way into the processes. To achieve this, we use the companies’ know-how and add our vision. After all, we are looking for evolution, not revolution, in a constant process.”

New Value Retailers
After the economic dip of the past years, the mood of the retail business has changed for the better. Rikkers notices that the readiness to invest is growing by the day. An increasing number of retailers are abandoning the focus on price and want to add more value. Several organisations are now achieving success by combining elements of price fighters with elements of full-service retailers in their shops. It allows the customer to count on low prices as well as a decent assortment, without the loss of quality or service. This concept has recently been defined as ‘New Value Retailing’ in Retailtrends magazine. It is a successful formula according to Rikkers: “New Value Retailers such as Mediamarkt, Ikea, Jumbo and the Hornbach DIY centres no longer opt for the traditional choices in the shop triangle of ‘price, assortment and value’. They want to perform in all three of these elements. They want to offer both service and a broad and accessible assortment at a good price. And they achieve this by building a lot of added value into the shop’s image. This approach is increasingly popular in the food and non-food sector. The crux is that the shop’s image needs to propagate the concept. And this means that one needs to understand the formula as soon as one enters such a shop.”

Sales Machine
Such a shop does, of course, look good. But there is more to it. It is mainly a sales machine. “In order to realise this, we want to be up to date when we start a project. The only way to get there, is by putting ourselves into the retailer’s shoes.” To do this, the retailer’s input is essential. In order to have a shopping concept fulfil the customer’s expectations, shopping processes need to be woven into the concept. The layout needs to fit into the retail context without any fuss. During workshops in the so-called ‘discovery phase’, we lay the foundation for the development of a concept that really adds value. Rikkers: “We do not provide retailers with a shopping concept, but streamline the process that leads to a shopping concept. We are therefore going a lot further. Together with the retailer we determine how his shops are doing in the market at the moment and where he wants to go next. These goals are then the starting point of the formulation of a master vision. This vision contains both content and process. These ideas then form the basis of the design. We have used this same approach for so many international customers by now, that we are capable of managing the entire process. The process from first draft to ready-to-use manual takes a couple of weeks.”

Buying Experience
Ipercoop in Italy, Globus in Germany and Migros in Switzerland are interesting examples of projects that have followed the New Value Retailing concept. Given these good results, we will see a lot more of them. “Hypermarkets are visibly becoming more and more professional. Initially they focussed a lot on price and assortment, now they also have to add value. This explains why there is so much interest in New Value Retailing, in which we have become experts. By adapting your assortment to what your customers expect of you, you can make shopping at a hypermarket into a true buying experience. You will need to provide a good layout and orientation. This will enable your customers to visit all corners of your shop. We are a natural at making this happen, which makes us stand out from competing design agencies. What’s more, we offer a complete solution for any situation.”

Fast Moving
Jos de Vries The Retail Company is also complete as concepts are being developed in an ever increasing number of market sectors. Besides food and non-food there are projects in catering, non-traditional retailing, manufacturing and shopping centres. “We are working on a community shop in Noordwijk, tourist information shops, a retail environment for pharmacists and signs for airport retailers. We are also involved in coffee chains and the restaurants of Swiss department store Jelmoli.”

From Barcelona to Moscow
Jos de Vries The Retail Company is also doing more and more business on international grounds. Especially the strong growth in Spain is noticeable. The Spanish office in Barcelona now counts three employees. Customers include Caprabo, Forum Sport and, of course, Aqui é (candidate for most innovative retail concept at the World Retail Awards). . Jens Bork has been responsible for all projects in Germany and Eastern Europe since 2005. Jos de Vries The Retail Company has been operating in Germany since ‘96. “In Germany, the brand concept is emerging and strong shopping concepts are also being developed. Think about Mediamarkt, for example. This formula is also very successful outside Germany. One of our most recent German projects is the Globus hypermarket in Ludwigshafen.
Our fourth office is located in Moscow. Because of the growing middle class, Russia now has room for the right retailing concepts. This is why we are very active at the Russian market.”

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