Client: Orange Personal Communications
Consultancy: Wolff Olins
Project: Orange Stores
Consultancy: DRS Advertising
Project: HMV Direct mail order catalogue, packaging and welcome pack
Client: The Holding Company
Consultancy: The Cato Consulting Group
Project: The Holding Company store interior
Consultancy: Design House Consultants
Project: NatWest Prime retail stores
The creation of the Orange brand is a textbook success story, so it made
sense to use the original design team when it came to converting
Hutchison Telecom Retail’s mobile equipment stores. The new stores,
which would sell only Orange products, had to be marketed to ensure they
would be seen as an extension of the brand. It also had to distinguish
them, in service terms, from competitors like CarPhone Warehouse and BT.
As Wolff Olins worked its way through the brief, it kept coming back to
an analogy of a market square, which lent itself to activity in the
centre and calmer surrounding areas. It translated this into an area
within the store where customers could interact with products, with
service, products and demonstration opportunities on the fringes.
Sales staff are able to demonstrate fax and data there, for example,
putting the images onto screens so that a wider audience could benefit.
And the screens can display messages about Orange benefits and the shop
The solution used simple, inexpensive materials, MDF shelves and
laminated cupboards, and a central ‘bar’ containing phones inside the
unit, with glass beneath them looking into a large fish tank. Customers
are encouraged to touch the products.
More detailed information can be found around the edges, and visitors
can ‘surf the Net’. Wolff Olins also co-ordinates marketing material
relating to Orange from different agencies to ensure consistency, and
simply extended this to include the design scheme for Orange shops.
So far, the new shops have been very successful. Although they now only
sell Orange, sales have increased by 50% since the change. The shop
staff have all expressed enormous enthusiasm for the scheme.
If customers are being pampered in other areas of retail, why not
financial services? In November 1995, NatWest opened the UK’s first
seven-day ‘Financial Store’ in Lakeside Shopping Centre, Thurrock,
followed by a second in Basingstoke a month later.
The concept was geared to creating an environment where customers could
feel comfortable and relaxed, giving them time to discuss their
financial affairs. The design combines technology with an open, friendly
feel, focusing on customers as individuals, so raising their confidence
levels in the ability of the bank to deal with all their financial
needs. It makes the stores easily accessible, yet retains the existing
corporate identity, and reflects the wide range of product offering
Storage is a problem for most city dwellers with limited space, so a
store that can sell ‘everything and anything to do with it’ has a good
chance of success. The Holding Company set out to do just that.
The design brief asked that the store should have a residential feel,
allow for a broad range of tastes, and display the product range openly.
The result is elegant but simple, light, warm and cheerful. It includes
a series of loose, room-like settings with unexpected, in-situ features,
such as using the under-street coal holes to create a laundry room
setting. Cato designed all elements, including the corporate identity,
signage and other graphic elements.
From the start, the store has had a very high profile, with orders
coming from as far as Japan.
Shopping for sounds used to be a relaxed affair, but no longer. Shoppers
are bombarded by so many musical genres it leads to a feeling of
alienation, and they lack the time to browse. HMV realised this
combination had lost them a market they once owned - the now ‘30-
HMV Direct was its response - a high-quality home shopping service
giving access to 200,000-plus titles. But its success depended on its
design. It had to reflect established HMV values, use classic direct
marketing, yet attract a more sophisticated and upmarket audience.
After a month, more than 20,600 catalogues had been bought, with a
conversion-to-first-order in excess of 19%. The average purchase order
from customers with a catalogue is 20% higher than from those without