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Sunglass Hut Reveals a New Open-Air Retail Concept

Sunglass Hut Reveals a New Open-Air Retail Concept

It’s always refreshing to look at new innovative designs, especially when we know it’s produced by a POPAI member company. IDL Worldwide, a part of Matthews Brand Solutions, was hired by Luxottica to design and produce Sunglass Hut’s Shaded, an open-air kiosk for the Macy’s in Queens Center in New York. It was then reproduced for inside the Polaris Fashion Place and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, both in Ohio. They also have potential for 10 future locations; eight Shop-In-Shops inside Sunglass Hut Stores, one Freestanding Open-Air location inside a mall, and one retrofit of an existing Open Air.

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Sunglass Hut’s request was to develop a brand and image that would come alive in a kiosk. Shaded’s target audience is millennials, a group that had previously made up a small fraction of Sunglass Hut’s retail sales. We all know how difficult targeting millennials can be, but IDL Worldwide did a great job of making the kiosk interactive and attention grabbing.

I96A8694"Millennials have unique consumer habits. The customer experience needed to be interactive and the brand needed to communicate authenticity so that the consumer would feel comfortable engaging with the space and the merchandise," says the IDL Design Team. "The Shaded experience focuses on quality product at more accessible price points for millennials and styles with a younger feel."shades-photobooth

To achieve a multi-purpose system that would contribute to the uniqueness of the kiosk design, IDL developed a series of modular blocks with metal inserts that can be screwed together, stacked, or used to create almost any kind of figure for sunglass displays.

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For inspiration, IDL drew upon an American industrial vintage-inspired design, which was accomplished through using and playing upon real elements and materials for authenticity, such as: exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood, vintage truck mirrors, wired glass, a photo booth, old building interior, metal beams, and spot lights.

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That inspiration led to a kiosk that included a lot of corrugated metal, but suddenly it transformed a more ‘authentic’ experience the client wanted by making major changes to the materials, but applied to essentially the same layout and design. While the final kiosk is completely open to the public so the consumer can interact with merchandise, there’s security measurements for the product and the space, including nylon covers for tables, bi-fold doors that close and lock over cubbies, and the integration of security cameras. IDL Creative Director Bryan Boul explains, “We integrated and camouflaged POS security requirements within a 360 open-air kiosk in order to keep consumer attention on the product and brand experience ­– the focus and hero”

The open-air retail environment and shop-in-shop were very well received by the Sunglass Hut management team, brand team and the operations client was happy. The kiosks do look inviting to millennials.
The quality, workmanship and details have exceeded our expectations. People said it couldn’t be done in the short time frame but you over delivered by hitting the time line with quality workmanship. Our Project Manager even commented by saying ‘this unit looks like the 10th production run!’ Most importantly you were able to convert ‘doubters’ into believers raising the bar for all others to follow. Changing minds not with words but with deliverable actions is commendable! But what I’m most impressed with is the commitment and sense of urgency your team has demonstrated throughout this project. From your leadership to your build team in East Butler PA, it’s obvious that everyone shares a common trait –pride and passion! If I were to look back and capture the moment our partnership was solidified, it would have been the time your team provided us with an abundant amount of research material and data on our target demographic. That extra effort proved to me that IDL was genuine and wanted to be a part of SHADED! The energy level, excitement, flexibility and commitment exceed all of my past relationships I’ve had in my retail career. Thanks for being who you are – never change! -Doug Incorvati | Sr. Director, Outlets/Travel Retail/Emerging Business
I am definitely attracted to the the incorporation of special lighting, wood paneling and a photo booth definitely, so I think they hit their target audience well. Would you add any other elements to the design to attract the target audience? I personally haven't seen an interactive open-air kiosk like this before, so it's exciting to see what new experiences malls and store-in-stores will offer in the near future.

What do you think?

*All images by Mark A Steele Photography Inc.

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