Subtle brand shift leads to results

March 25, 2022

Hannahs is a New Zealand icon, with a shoe manufacturing and sales history stretching back over 150 years.

Despite their enviable history, the company’s new owners stressed that Hannahs continues to be first and foremost a fashion brand. A brand that looks forward rather than backward. They also requested that the fit-out should be about the customer and their ability to see and feel the products. Their store was to complement rather than overpower the product or visual merchandising elements. It was required to be very customer-focused, featuring a large seating area, so staff could assist customers to obtain the perfect fit for their shoes.

The latest store in the roll out of this new concept design is the 277sqm flagship at Sylvia Park. The 17m frontage gives the store a great presence in the new pavilion.

The store layout is divided into zones or “rooms”, by subtly bringing out feature bays from the side walls. These “rooms” are also defined by changes in flooring materials. These zones feature impulse displays at the front, the customer seating area in the middle, and the point-of-sale counter and kids department at the rear. A large audio-visual screen dominates the back wall to allow the brand to showcase their video collateral and new product shots. The store is impressive and inviting.

Our team created a new retail fixturing system that is completely modular, so it can be applied to other stores, including refits of existing sites. With a ceiling height of four metres we were able to take the fixturing almost full height. There is no requirement for shelving at the highest part, so this was left as a neutral band comprised of steel peg-board panels. These enable signage or displays to either be fitted into the peg-board holes or for graphics to be attached magnetically.

The design features excellent product lighting, in a way that enabled shoes on the bottom display shelves to be as well-lit as those at the top. This required an individual lighting system fixed into each shelf. It was a challenge to come up with a design that allowed these to be safely moved (along with the wiring) each time the shelf was adjusted, to accommodate different size products such as high boots in winter. With the wiring hidden inside the front post and the transformers hidden in the plinth at the bottom, the entire wall system can easily be reconfigured without tools or electricians. The fixturing itself remains deliberately understated with a neutral palette of white metal posts clad over with a solid ash clashing and oak laminate shelves.

The shopfront was left largely open so customers can see the whole store from the outside and can easily drift in to browse the impulse display tables at the storefront. Our clients were very keen to incorporate some green walls to lend an element of naturalness and softness to the interior. These posed some reasonably significant challenges in terms of retrofitting plumbing, drainage, and grow lights to the space, and we believe it was well worth the effort. Signage is a simple illuminated “Hannahs” wordmark reflecting the company’s revised logo.

The customer area in the centre features two circular, communal seats that a number of customers can sit around during fittings. These are covered in real leather as a reflection of the products stocked in the shop. This area is highlighted with Tom Dixon “Fade” lights. The counter is a mixture of oak laminate and a synthetic stone product for durability.

High-quality pure-wool rugs and real oak floors were chosen to reflect Hannah’s simple quality focus, while also enhancing the customer experience when going barefoot as they try on shoes. Angled mirrors built into the bottom of feature bays make it easy for customers to see their feet from several angles.

The overall design, although deliberately subtle, has marked a distinct shift in the brand and customers are loving it. The Sylvia Park store has delivered good sales results especially when you consider any addition to an existing mall takes time to settle as customers discover the new precinct and retailers continue to arrive.

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