Of the 25 national gia Global Innovation Award winners of 2015-2016, five stores were selected the most innovative, outstanding retailers on the planet. We check out what makes them so unique and outstanding.
The top five stores declared gia Global Innovation Honorees in 2016 were: Lakehouse from Canada, Illums Bolighus from Denmark, Kitchen Shop from Malaysia, K’OOK! from the Netherlands and Lords from the UK.
In addition, Karaca Home from Turkey won the Martin M. Pegler Award for Excellence in Visual Merchandising and the gia Digital Commerce Award for Excellence in Online Retailing was awarded to Cooking The Kitchen Company of Spain.
The Lakehouse Home Store is positioned on a pristine lake in the spectacular Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, which is a region renowned not only for the outdoorsy lake culture, but also for its wonderful food and wine offerings. Owners Ben and Sue Boschman opened the store five years ago, and from day one, they’ve impressed both residents and tourists by expertly and passionately showcasing world-class designer products with solid purpose. This focus on the uniting of form and function is imperative to the success of Lakehouse.
Living by its mantra of ‘Live. Cook. Play.’, which is in keeping with the laidback culture of the region, Lakehouse keeps everything fun and dynamic. The name ‘Lakehouse’ embraces, reflects and leverages the beaches, vineyards, and the casual warm-climate lake culture that attracts so many people to the special region, and the product choice reflects this.
The gia judges thought that Lakehouse was a classic example of a good home and housewares retailer, with a strong emphasis on merchandising and design. They also paid tribute to the company’s consistent branding, and the great use of distressed wood in graphics, which ties neatly in with the business’ philosophy. The judges commended the couple on their event-driven marketing and their strong use of audio, such as the in-store playlist of 1500 songs. Lakehouse is also a champion in integrating their online and brick and mortar store, with things such as iPads in the aisles, and a computer for customers to place online orders for products that are not available while they are shopping.
To learn more about Lakehouse, visit www.lakehousehomestore.com or see the Lakehouse gia – Global Innovation blog.
Design, quality and impeccable service are the pillars for Illums Bolighus. For the business to continue its 75-year success, it is crucial to the owners and managers of the seven stores across Scandinavia that every one of their customers has a unique shopping experience, thus its many highly valued service-minded employees.
The company’s vision is to maintain their position as a leading center for design, lifestyle and interior design, but also to continue down the road of being results- oriented and cost-efficient, and to focus on developing cooperative agreements with other like-minded brands and businesses. Illums Bolighus always aims to inspire customers with truly outstanding visual merchandising, an inspiring, forward-thinking product range, and vibrant public relations campaigns and advertisements, all born from a truly trend-setting environment.
The gia judges all agreed that Illums Bolighus is a universe of quality, not quantity. They could immediately see that the store stays true to its Nordic identity, keeping everything pure, clean and minimalistic. They thought the store is dramatic and beautifully presented, and that this look and feel was carried through seamlessly in the packaging and branding. The judges felt that the business has one clear, defined voice, and a crystal-clear message—that all products in Illums Bolighus are of the highest quality and reflect the brand’s innovation and style. The store was also commended on its great attention to annual themes and its emotionally charged window displays.
To learn more about Illums Bolighus, visit www.illumsbolighus.dk or see the Illums Bolighus gia – Global Innovation blog.
There is more to Malaysia’s Kitchen Shop than what first meets the eye. Yes, it is a wonderland of chic kitchenware, savvy electrical tools and the latest cool appliances at the best possible prices, but it’s also a company focused on inspiring people to cook at home and embrace family, friends and the life that cooking and living well creates.
Quality culinary tools and the latest high-tech gadgets are in-store alongside classic utensils to make cooking an enjoyable experience, but it’s the twin pillar philosophy upholding Kitchen Shop that gives it a unique point of difference. That is, that every product in Kitchen Shop should in some way tie back to healthy living and/or conserving energy, because its owners believe in enriching the lives of their customers through their products while helping to protect and preserve the natural environment. Whether it’s teaching someone how to preserve energy while cooking or reheating something, or offering personalized training on the benefits, use and care of innovative, time-saving tools, the staff at Kitchen Shop aim to make a difference to people’s lives, and to the world around them.
The judges were impressed with Kitchen Shop’s strong stance on educating consumers about healthy living and cooking at home with quality products that can make a difference to someone’s life and the environment. The judges loved the ‘try-me’ corner for testing products, the strong educational displays with recipes, the sharing of tips and product information, special activities for consumers and events in the demonstration kitchen. It was the attention that Kitchen Shop pays to its customers’ lives that really made them stand out as a global honoree.
To learn more about Kitchen Shop, visit www.thekitchenshop.org or see the Kitchen Shop gia – Global Innovation blog.
Behind the Netherlands gia winner is the lovely story of two friends—Anne van der Spoel and Karen Schoen—who decided to change their lives by both taking on a new career. They did it by creating K’OOK!, a store dedicated to all things cooking, along the side of a river in the town of Wormerveer.
Not only did the store become a success, but the two women, after becoming so engrossed in the food scene in the area, launched a food festival that now attracts over 12,000 people and more than 60 food trucks to their river in July. With both the store and festival doing so well, the pair then launched an Italian ‘weekend’, which is actually a four-day event within their store, celebrating Italian food and beverages.
The store has evolved over the last ten years to have a free-standing stove in the middle of the store where a demonstration kitchen has been installed, a large collection of cookbooks, a coffee bar, and an area of the store dedicated to produce. The friends have also launched their own product line in-store, including branded postcards, bags, olive oil and coffee.
The gia judges all agreed that K’OOK! has done an outstanding job in regards to store design, complementing that with a striking, bold logo and consistent branding. The business partners are always coming up with innovative ideas to further spread word of their business, including the growth of the food festival and their Italian foodie weekend. They are also very involved with social media and are always trying out new things, such as recently inviting a group of bloggers to experience the store and share their experiences with particular products.
To learn more about K’OOK!, visit www.k-ook.nl or see the K’OOK! gia – Global Innovation blog.
Lords is all about locals. The philosophy of Lords revolves around supporting the local community and providing customers with a beautiful retail experience that will have them becoming loyal to Lords in no time at all. The family-owned specialist housewares retailer was founded by sisters Rita and Rachna Dewan, and has six stores on local high streets across London.
Every Lords store reflects—through its staff, design, art, architecture and ambience—the local community and the heritage of the area where it stands. So while there is certainly strong branding flowing through all of the stores, internally the shops are designed with the surroundings and the local customer in mind. The environment aims to be welcoming and inviting, providing a superb experience through excellent customer service and thoughtfully curated products.
A free local delivery service, provenance stories and in-store demonstrations make shopping at Lords a memorable experience and a place that people talk about long after they have visited, resulting in a customer base that is not only dedicated to their local store, but also highly engaged online.
The gia judges admired the dedication from the founding sisters of Lords, to create localized stores that continually adapt to fit in with the neighborhoods in which they are based. They were also impressed by the localized product assortment, and the commitment from Lords to having 20 percent of their products sourced from the area in which they are situated. They commended the business on training staff to really know the area and be able to give recommendations and advice on local things to do and see. This commitment cements Lords as a brand that is dedicated to storytelling, further helping them to become the well-loved local store it aims to be.
To learn more about Lords, visit www.lordsathome.com or see the Lords gia – Global Innovation blog. Link to: https://blog.housewares.org/index.php/2016/04/local-lords/