VBAT, the Amsterdam-based award-winning brand development agency, is leading the way in Dutch retail. The agency is has successfully tested several pilot stores for three leading Dutch retailers: Gamma, SNS Bank, and Jumbo. The retail giants are now investing in a complete overhaul of over 500 stores nationwide. The multi-million euro roll-out investment reflects the commercial success and positive customer feedback of the pilot stores.
Gamma, the market leader in the Dutch DIY segment, commissioned VBAT to design a new retail formula and to refresh the brand identity. The aim was to boost its appeal to a younger and more female audience whilst retaining its existing loyal customer group, creating a better balance between construction and higher-margin decorative products. The cosmetic re-fit to all 180 stores nationally was completed in July 2010, and up to 30 stores per year are planned for complete renovation. The new-look stores are already showing significantly increased sales, with the bulk of the increase coming in the decorative sector.
"Changing the face of over 500 stores in two years is a major achievement in this period of economic uncertainty," said Andy Palmer Smith, Retail Creative Director for VBAT. "Retailers are only prepared to invest time and money if they see that the new design delivers an improved customer experience, increased sales, reduced overheads and boosted profit margins. That three major retailer are prepared to make such a big financial commitment is a huge endorsement for VBAT and the effectiveness of our work."
"The changes in the retail landscape have increased consumer choice and led to a more competitive market place," added Robert de Groot, CEO and Brand Director for VBAT. "In turn, retailers are savvier and much more discerning when it comes to making investments. Designs have to go beyond just looking good. We work with our clients to create a retail space that caters to their customers' needs and conveys the brands core values but also delivers in terms of profitability."
SNS Bank, now the fourth largest Dutch bank, is currently implementing VBAT's award-winning bank shop design. After a successful pilot phase, SNS Bank has now opened 50 new-look bank shops, which are receiving very positive customer feedback, VBAT's new design positions SNS staff as the core facilitators in providing customers a self-service access to all financial services, creating a more cohesive customer experience between retail and online services. The pilot stores have already reduced the total spend per branch by 40% which is a crucial component in the choice to re-fit all 300 bank shops by the end of 2011.
Jumbo, now the number two player in the Dutch food retail market, has recently boosted their high-street presence with the acquisition of 200 Super de Boer stores. The supermarket chain, known for its larger full-service stores, asked VBAT to create a concept for the 80 smaller stores - roughly half of the Super de Boer portfolio. VBAT's new concept focuses on a central fresh zone with new product displays allowing for better product density and a simplified communications style. The pilot store has launched to a very positive customer response. VBAT's new retail format design enables the smaller stores to deliver fresh food, a broad product choice and profitability in line with the impressive sales figures of much bigger stores.