When AO, the online electrical retailer, recently decided to offer their customers a more immersive shopping experience they looked to us to help them bring their ‘digital first’ brand into the physical world. AO’s first of five ‘shop-in-shops’ was situated within Tesco in Middleton and moved them decisively from online to omnichannel.
Softening the lines between the convenience of online shopping and the experience of a great in–store journey, the in-store offer is loaded with clever innovations and practical technology, such as the open kitchen area with breakfast bar, digital display enhancements, TV walls, and an ‘AO-To-Go’ section.
The transition into physical stores requires a distinctive, on-brand physical space. The store concept and environment, designed by Household, was brought to life during a collaborative design and prototype process engaging teams from Tesco, Quantum 4, Wanzl, and Merson. Our job was to design and implement a system for the open form main store timber walls, the distinctive green doorways, high level framed signage, graphic branding and a unique suspended ceiling raft complete with hanging plants.
Our expertise in designing and delivering retail structures using specially coated aluminium profiles which simulate wood, played a major part in delivering the distinctive new look, as well as a blend of strong branding, considered use of colour, and natural wood textures.
Our rapid design process, using the latest technologies, enabled us to quickly design and deliver all elements of the scope. These included branding and marketing panels and glass screens to ensure some areas of the store became a little more secure, both worthwhile additions which we were able to turn around on time to meet client requirements.
All sites, but particularly the first pilot site in Tesco’s Middleton store, were on a fast-track programme. This meant a considerable collaborative effort to rapid prototype elements of the design and build.We used the latest design technologies, such as 3D modelling to deliver on time and with accuracy.
Further challenges included new elements being added to the store, requiring instant construction design solutions immediately followed by manufacture.
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