Beauty and dermocosmetics areas for London Drugs in Vancouver
London Drugs pharmacies gave Rümker the task of redesigning its Beauty Luxe section in its downtown Vancouver store.
With a mind to redefining the buying experience and optimizing how brands are presented, we developed a modular, incremental furniture system to anchor the section. Now different product lines can be better showcased using a system of square tubes and movable panels creating positive and negative space. This redesign resulted in a 20% increase in sales and helped London Drugs create new partnerships with brands previously absent in its stores.
Objectives and challenges
The design team’s objectives proved complicated to achieve: how to showcase these spaces and the brands they promote while maintaining London Drugs’ accessible image. How could London Drugs differentiate itself from big department stores like Hudson’s Bay and Nordstrom? We had to find an expression of beauty that the friendly family pharmacy from Western Canada could own.
Other issues that needed to be addressed in the design included high traffic. Although the reinvented installation resided within BC’s biggest drugstore, it is also the store with the highest traffic: subway users are obliged to cross through the store to get to the platform, or to exit from the platform. You could say the drugstore is part of the nervous system of downtown Vancouver, with countless passersby, a constant flow and, as a natural consequence, no small amount of theft.
The challenge of addressing this theft was considerable. How do you present products in an attractive light without locking them away in glass boxes? While keeping perfumes secure, we had to also avoid losing that sense of luxury and keep the purchasing process easy and fast. So we thought about creating small display cases that were both luminous and thin, out of steel, with upward-opening individual doors, which were never opened except under the watchful eye of staff, which drastically reduced the possibility of theft.
To make our design which was initially created for branch no. LD02 adaptable to other drugstores, we needed to make it modular. So we reimagined the islands in a way that the design could be rolled out more easily. We wanted to break with the standard gondola displays of the traditional drugstore by deploying a modular unit that promoted interaction between consumers and the products being presented, like in a playground. This modularity in the islands also let London Drugs display brands beyond the standard allotted 4 feet. By relying on flexible multi-brand spaces, London Drugs could as part of its strategy designate a special space for local and Canadian brands.
As for where the displays would be deployed, we wanted to create a lightness with different ways of getting around the store, so we broke the traditional linearity so people could circulate freely among the kiosks.
In terms of aesthetics, behind each surface finish is a square-tube steel structure that is almost invisible. Surfaces of Corian or laminate, depending on the section, are completely affixed to the structure. Low voltage LED circuits were integrated into the skeleton of the display furniture to better showcase the products and highlight the structural effect.
Finally, Rümker took total responsibility from A to Z for the entire project under a turnkey arrangement: design, technical development, production, installation and coordination of all suppliers. Given the scope of the project, several phases had to be carried out simultaneously with tight deadlines, with much of the installation work carried out at night so as to not disrupt store operations during the day. All in all it proved to be a highly demanding project whose outcome the firm is extremely proud of.