Bonds – New Concept Design Challenge Answered

In November 2013 Design Clarity met with key Bonds stakeholders at Pac Brands to talk through how to we could together make the Bonds store design more operationally efficient, more cost-effective, and allow a stronger emotional connection with the customer. What the Bonds team called generation V3.0.

We were tasked to take customers on a journey, provide a solution for housing key franchises and accessories, maintain high stock density and increase functionality but not increase the cost per sqm.
The original store format had some basic issues with function, particularly at the point of sale. The stores did not allow for high-density stock levels, didn’t house all product adjacencies and were incredibly difficult to VM.
The second generation stores made some improvements, stripping back to allow VM for multiple categories and higher stock, but management felt they still lacked the heart, soul and essence of the Bonds brand.

V3.0 Challenges – how to house basic lines like T-shirts in a less labour intensive way? – so staff aren’t constantly having to fold and restack. How to offer gender-specific basics without looking too value-retail? How to shop for socks near POS as impulse add-on buys? How to bring the fitting rooms to life? How to redesign the counter zone to allow for volume purchasing? How to communicate price messaging in-store? How to simplify wayfinding? And how to present a more balanced store design, that equally attracts, not alienates men or women?
The Bonds & Me loyalty program was also key to the store concept – looking at how to create a true omnichannel experience with a merging of online and offline services. Technology solutions in the past had been more gimmick than effective.
Design Clarity had the opportunity to demonstrate solutions to many of these challenges through the hugely successful Bonds Kids new concept design. So now we brought all that learning back to Bonds and created the grown-up Bonds store you see today.

“I…was blown away with its impact. Interestingly there has been much more debate surrounding the design than ever. My take on this is because the store has a strong point of view and stands for something. I LOVE IT and am very proud of how far we have come in one big leap forward.”

– Belinda Barlow, GM – retail, Underwear Group