Sikkens professional paints retail concept

The ‘business to business' retail challenge

Global paint manufacturer, AkzoNobel, approached us for help in developing a Pan European retail proposition for their Sikkens brand.  The brief was to position Sikkens as the leading colour and technical expert in professional paints, as well as creating a retail environment which would enable the brand to become service, rather than product, centric.

The outcome

The newly designed Sikkens branded experience stores strengthen the brand's presence across its retail markets and promote Sikkens positioning as paint and colour experts.  In terms of financial benefits, AkzoNobel has seen:

  • Double digit sales growth in relation to its paints
  • A reduction in working capital achieved through rationalisation of paint and non- paint ranges

What we did: business to business retail design

Our challenge was to translate best in class consumer retail principles into a ‘business to business' retail environment fully relevant to the professional painter. 

We used as our design inspiration the idea of an industrial workshop, warmed up through colour and materials to create a welcoming environment that the painter could feel at home in.  To promote the concept of Sikkens as the number one paint expert, we carried out a full category management and assortment review across all Sikkens' retail markets to produce a final, optimised range of paints and non-paints that would provide the painter with everything he needed in store.  Paint is displayed prominently with Sikkens presented as the key brand, both to communicate the brand's expertise and to maximise sales. 

As well as the design, category management and merchandising, we also:

From the start, we became an integral part of the AkzoNobel project team, developing the business case with them and facilitating communications between their European centre and the local teams in AkzoNobel's various retail markets.  As the local teams spoke a variety of languages, we were grateful for the linguistic talents of MD Craig, Head of Category Management, Hugues, and Project Manager, Victoria!

Business to business retail design inspiration

Central to the new concept is the painter's colour table, a resource centre designed to help the painter support his customers with colour choice.  The table offers the opportunity to view paint aspect finishes and substrate application boards, and makes available paint samples for the painter to take away.  The innovative design provides an eye catching focal point within store, demonstrating Sikken's commitment to the painter and his business, and reaffirming Sikken's expertise.

Colour psychology: connecting with customers

AkzoNobel was keen to develop a stronger relationship with its customers, bringing the brand closer to the painter and encouraging customer loyalty.

We therefore applied the principles of colour psychology to in-store communications and promotions to connect with customers on both a conscious and unconscious level and communicate key messages.  For example, the colour green represents stability and honesty so we have used this on signage relating to service elements; blue suggests clarity and trust so this is used on all in-store navigation; while for new promotions we chose eye catching yellow, a creative and optimistic colour.

Roll out

The Sikkens business to business retail model is fully repeatable across all of AkzoNobel's retail markets with just a few adjustments.  It is currently being tested in France, Holland and Belgian and is being considered for wider roll out.

"I've been positively impressed by your ability to deliver a finished concept that remains true to the original, agreed design." Phil Kent, Global Marketing Director, Professional Brands

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