North America’s largest arts and crafts retailer, Michaels, has unveiled a new store experience at two of its Texas locations, complete with innovation hubs and a refocussed customer-centric approach. We worked with the brand to help them make the strategic shift to becoming ‘for the Makers’ and serve as a source of inspiration and creativity to their customers.
We defined a vision to fully translate the brand’s new proposition into its retail environment, transforming its stores from big-box retail warehouses focussed on discount and volume into community-focussed creative spaces offering inspiration and value. Three experience principles underpin the new concept. ‘Community at the heart’ focuses on serving Michaels’ Maker Community as well as supporting the local neighbourhood. ‘Authority always’ aims to guide shoppers through the density of products, celebrating knowledge and sharing helpful skills. ‘Inspiration at hand’ focuses on inspiring Makers and inviting them to share in the creative process.
Central to Michael’s new positioning is the introduction of the Makerspace - an area where shoppers can work on projects using Michaels’ tools, attend a workshop, or host their own craft events. The space becomes a destination within the store and a community space for visitors to use how they wish. The area has been designed to feel creative and open and inviting with transparent screens and a welcoming tone of voice. The Makerspace can easily be incorporated into other Michaels stores in order to elevate the customer journey and experience across the chain.
Michaels’ service areas have also been reinvented to enhance the spaces and add interest. The Click and Collect area has been brought to the front of the store to promote the service proposition. A new, impactful visual language has been created for the concept, with statement messaging over the cash desks.
Expressive marks and patterns reflect the creativity of Michaels’ Makers. The brand’s signature red has been supported with a softer colour palette and the use of natural materials such as timber, plywood and pegboard creates a warmer environment for the brand to tell their craft stories.
Situated throughout the store are new inspiration hubs that partly sit over walkways in order to draw customers in. These floor-to-ceiling units act as beacons to call out the headline departments and can be easily customised for an impactful display, calling out seasonal products or offering new project ideas. The hubs were designed to feel like an inspiring work-in-progress project; all VM used to decorate the space would be made from items that could be purchased in the store.
The height of shelving in the store has been brought down to create sight lines throughout, helping customers navigate more easily. End caps on stock gondolas now provide inspiration and advice in the brand’s friendly tone of voice, as well as carefully curated product selections.
The Framing Studio has been introduced to enhance the Michaels’ framing offer, where shoppers can choose from pre-made or custom-made. The new space and department name creates a destination for customers and reinforces the strength of the offer.
“At Michaels, we are here for the Maker and the launch of our new concept stores is another way we are creating a more immersive and impactful experience for them,” says Ron Stoupa, Senior Vice President of Marketing. “We are committed to testing and learning all we can around the wants and needs of our customers so we can provide the most engaging store experience.”
The fully scalable and flexible concept - which launched in McKinney earlier this year, and more recently in Plano in September - can be easily implemented across Michaels’ other US and Canada locations.