Parallel to Apple’s final preparations for the introduction of IOS6, allowing users to take connectivity to the next level on their Iphone, we completed a new breed of telecom stores for AISIDI, one of China’s leading Apple Premium resellers. Taking on branding as well as VI and store design, we created ‘AER’, a new mobile brand that playfully enhances the life of the individual user.
AISIDI is a frontrunner and trendsetter in the Chinese mobile market and plans to open a vast amount of new shops in first tier cities in the mainland market coming year. When the company first came to us in late 2011 for help on establishing a new brand of telecom stores, they were clear in their brief. They wanted to create a fresh, young and most importantly out-of-the-box retail brand, with stores that represent not only the character of the products but also a great understanding of the increasing importance of mobile devices in contemporary life. Mobile devices have become much more than just products. A complete new lifestyle based on mobility and community has emerged, keeping users connected throughout the globe and entertained around the clock through a variety of online and offline apps.
China – the client’s home base – has become the world’s largest Internet market with 538 million users by June 2012. In August 2011, CNNIC reported that 66% of China’s Internet users access Internet through mobile devices. The average user spends 18.7 hours per week on the Internet, most of the time surfing the web and chatting. In addition, the phenomenon of the ‘cloud’ has enabled users to create a customized digital environment where they can connect and share information with others.
Taking all this in consideration and digging deeper into mobile use in China, we understood that they had to create a retail brand that lives, loves and breathes mobile lifestyle. Taking on the project, they created a brand that shifts focus from selling products to connecting with consumers and understanding how mobile devices and apps can make life easier and more fun. ‘AER’ – translated from the Greek word for ‘AIR’ and loosely referring to the phenomenon ‘cloud’ – celebrates the joy of freedom through wireless technology in which connecting, sharing and having fun in the mobile space have a central role.
Nowadays, customers no longer simply demand a store where good products are available. More importantly they seek an environment where they can get in touch with trusted peers that can provide service and advice build. We acknowledge the fact that customer relationships these days go beyond ‘buying a product’. AER is therefore is focused on customer care, interaction and fun sharing. Products are presented in a natural way, in open displays, so the customer can touch and try.
Translating the brand AER into the reality of a visual identity and a physical space, and taking into account the online behavior of the target group, we designed a visually stunning playground-like environment where customers are encouraged to discover, learn and have fun. The store design is accommodating three highlight categories of customers: Trendy, Lifestyle and Tech Savvy. Whilst for ‘Trendy’ it is most important to present an ever-changing, fashionable and edgy selection of products year-round, for the ‘Tech Savvy’ audience the latest trends in technology are pivotal. To serve the ‘Lifestyle’ customer, the purpose and usage of the mobile device are leading.
To make sure each of these types of customers recognizes themselves in the store, we created a flexible interior scheme. In showcasing the products, they designed three different tables with ‘serving trays’ that cater to different target groups. Combining customized graphics with targeted package solutions, products are thematically presented in combination with related accessories and recommended apps and carriers.
Apart from product presentation the store concept involves important interactive elements, with the App Bar as a central spot. Following a black runway from the entrance to the end of the store is a large interactive screen where customers can try out mobile apps on the spot. On either sides of the screen customers will find App Bars, where training, support and purchasing takes place. The App Bar is a place where customers can meet and greet, and have a chat with others. The Lego inspired shapes are fun yet sleek and eye catching. Free lollipops are provided to the customers while they wait.
To enhance the idea of the store as the customers’ own digital playground, the look and feel, routing and the way the staff relates to the customer were key issues. The space needed to facilitate and stimulate a personal and fun way of selling and communicating. Bright but friendly colors were combined with softer ‘homely’ materials such as wood. In the layout of the store the hybrid and flexible form of the digital cloud can be traced back. Painted pegboards are used to cover the walls. This allows display shelves and decors to be hung freely within the whole space and to be changed location at all times. By using graphic inlays in the presentation trays, the furniture can be used in a flexible way as well.
In creating ‘not just another store’, but an interactive community where individual customers feel their needs are understood, we reinterpreted the act of purchasing mobile product. By creating an environment completely built around the concept of fun-loving customer care the customer will feel at ease when visiting. The App Bar and interactive screen make the store a place where you not only visit to buy, but also to try and to get advised. Topping it off, the flexible interior fits perfectly to the needs of the mobile-minded customer, that is used-to ‘click and play’, and never wants to be bored. Our ever-changing store concept AER will not only raise brand awareness, but will keep customers coming back, providing them with an exciting and new experience every time.
300+ stores / 50-200 sqm