New Look For Fashion Retailer Simons Entering Western Canada

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Quebec City-based fashion retailer Simons has headed west to Edmonton, Alberta, with a cleverly designed brand experience, incorporating the world of technology, by award winning Toronto interior design firm figure3.

Artist's rendering of in-store view

In its first store outside of Quebec, Simons has invested in figure3 to spark a long-term relationship with a new consumer audience in the design of their 115,000 sq. ft. retail space in the West Edmonton Mall.

From remote controlled ‘capsule’ fitting rooms that descend from the ceiling to valet styled rooms equipped with tablets showcasing the look-of-the-week, ‘touch-points’ for engagement are paramount to figure3’s concept.

The result is a new retail landscape and service model that encourages consumers to explore the fashion environment through design features that speak to each unique demographic.

In-depth consumer behavior research initiated by figure 3 included trips into consumer’s closets through innovative online diaries and cohort shopping. Visual audits of each department’s typology were divided into young/urban/traditional tribes and then used to translate Simons’ private label brands into physical spaces in the new store.

Enter Twik, the young female in-house label geared to a fashion forward consumer. Sophisticated design moves capture her complex transition from innocent to sexy. Provocative grey and smoky mirrors are juxtaposed with high-energy pops of trend-setting colour and large graphic murals that tell a dreamy story about a girl’s transformation during adolescence.

Further introducing Simons as a girl’s new BFF, figure 3’s experience design strategy includes a cutting-edge digital photo studio resembling a giant iPad that allows consumers to take real-time photos of their shopping experience. Connected to live social media feeds, shoppers are encouraged to take pictures of outfit combinations to get instant feedback from friends. The fashion customer becomes ‘a star’, embedding the Simons’ experience into outside channels with the touch of a button.

For Djab, the teenage ‘skater boy’, figure 3 has designed an enticing cavern-like interior to ‘hang’ with friends, cleverly positioned at the front of store. Drawing in this unlikely shopper, bold red port-a-potties transformed into fitting rooms are a beacon for the young male and interactive touch-points such as a denim wall fully-equipped with on-demand gaming stations entice them to stay. While most retailers don’t encourage consumers to linger, figure 3’s concept for Simons banks on making this younger demographic an investment in future consumer loyalty.

Equal consideration has been given to Simons’ female fashion brands Icone and Contemporaine and their male counterpart Le 31 with acute lifestyle references that empower the consumer experience and go beyond physical space. In a world where instant decisions are made and clothes are left on the table, the fitting room reigns supreme. Men who want clarity and good service will appreciate figure3’s men’s club reference with generous centrally located valet-inspired rooms, staff close by and simple cues to help them shop the whole look. Design-savvy women are treated to a stunning curated boutique environment of white glass and light oak finishes, featuring ample space for stylists and eye-popping furniture.

Stylists are encouraged to create ‘key looks’ on mannequins that embody each department typology, promoting them inside the store and beyond by tweeting the looks through photo booths. This real-time engagement designed by figure3 improves the consumer experience and allows the fashion ‘magic’ of Simons to be displayed on social media channels to customers outside of the store.

“Delivering the Simons experience is a key ingredient to every store we design, each one reflects our commitment to fashion and creativity,” says Peter Simons, CEO – Simons. “We partnered with figure3 on our Edmonton store, our first foray outside Quebec – because they have a creative design process that designs with the customer first, driving a truly innovative result to the store design and service model.”

Experience design is an Omni-channel investment that requires an immersive consumer environment. Simons is banking on Figure3’s clever mix of information collection and design in their new retail environment, stimulating shoppers to spend more, exhibit strong brand loyalty and encourage their friends to do the same.

“Solutions for store design today are provided in the context of a competitive retail landscape that must address all aspects of this complex ecosystem and extend beyond traditional interior design,” says Andrew Gallici, director retail design, figure3. “With Simons we have not just designed a store, but instead created an experience that will make the whole more profitable.”

We hope to have photos of some of the technical installations and further information on the partners who incorporated them for figure3 and Simons within the week,

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