The ‘scooping-your-own’ concept
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit the bazaar of Isfahan in central Iran. Walking in the bazaar was like walking in a maze. The stalls that attracted me to stop by the most were the ones with the colorful hand painted miniatures, hand-crafted plates, colorful spices, and sweets. Displayed nicely in big bags. I could smell a cloud of spice aromas envelope the entire bazaar. Next to the spices and herbs were dried nuts and fruit. Salesmen loudly offered dried pistachios and dried fruit for customers to try. Men and women came to the spices stalls, the shopkeeper scooped up, bagged, and then handed to customers the amazing spice mix.
A few years later, in Sydney, I noticed that the concept of scooping-your-own has become a sustainable way of shopping and has become a retail trend, particularly in wholefood stores and organic supermarkets. The concept of scooping-your-own means that much less food is paid for and wasted. Customers could select varities of spices, create their own blend of spices. This kind of personalised experiences attracts customers and encourages them to come back to the store again and again.
Case Study: GewürzhausHerb & Spice Merchants in the Strand Arcade, Sydney
“Have you ever experienced a bazaar or market-place in Middle-Eastern and South Asian cities? “ – I asked my friend as we walked into GewürzhausHerb & Spice Merchants. Located in the Strand Arcade, one of the most iconic Victorian heritage builidngs in the CBD of Sydney, GewürzhausHerb & Spice Merchants is a boutique retail store that offers more than 350 single-origin spices, herbs, salts, peppers, teas, and sugars from around the world.
Gewürzhausmeans ‘spice house’ in German. Sisters Eva and Maria Konecsny from Melbourne are the owners of the shop. The siblings are passionate about cooking and food. Coming from German root, their first store was opened in Carlton, Melbourne in 2001. Each Gewürzhausstore has its own personality through its interior scheme.
The Sydney store was designed by Melbourne-based studio, Doherty Design. It was designed to encourage customers to explore the shop; to smell, touch, and taste the products. Like the experience in a Middle-Eastern bazaar, but not exactly the same. All herbs, spices, salts and tea are self-scooped by customers instead of being served by the shopkeeper. Goods are featured and stored in the tubs instead of being stored in the big bags. Customers are invited to sample the products by lifting the lids of any of the tubs, scooping some of its content, and then seeing and smelling it. Spices and blends in the store were displayed according to cuisine types and country of origin: Australian, South East Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern.
“It was important to maintain that tradition of refined German shopkeeping in both service and aesthetic, and to let the spices and their history speak for themselves,” said the owners of Gewürzhaus.“Doherty Design Studio draws attention to the age and history of the spices through a timeless design, which could be current now or 100 years ago. That is what references our spices’ histories, not the exoticism of their backgrounds” – quoted from blog writing of Tess Ritchie, April 7th2015 Indesignlive.
Engaging all five senses of the customers:
A good interior design provides customer with a spatial perception experience and enables interaction with the products in the store. Customers have five sensory responses as they navigate through a store: sight, smell, touch, taste and sound.
Gewürzhaus remindedus of walking into a boutique street store in Europe. The display of the tubs with colorful spices and herbs, however, reminded us of walking through a Middle-Eastern bazaar, and good space planning allowed us to explore the store easily. Every tub of spice in Gewürzhaus was individually labeled, and provided four main types of information: ingredients, origin of product, price and description of use. The visual branding, packaging design, and attractive product display captured customers’ visual attention.
Before we entered the shop, the cloud of spice aromas made us want to stop before we went into the shop. Exploring the shop was like exploring a Middle-Eastern bazaar, we opened the lid of the tubs, scooped the spices and herbs, and smelled it. A good scent was generally perceived as positive attraction for the customers to go in or stay longer in the shop. For many of us coming from diverse cultural backgrounds, we explored the scents, and searched for the pieces of our childhood memories by smelling the mixed spices and herbs; it reminded us of the dishes that our grandparents or parents used to cook.
The self-scoop format definitely made the shopping experience more engaging and makes customers more likely to buy things. By experiencing scooping the products through interactions, a more personal connection is created. A convenient self-service weighing station was available for customer’s use. Customers could scoop their desired quantity, and put them into specially designed packaging bags.
One of the best parts about exploring the shop was that we could sometimes taste some of the spices and herbs. Occasionally the staff in the shop would serve us herbal tea. In the Advent period prior to Christmas, we were served Christmas tea. For some special events, customers are invited to Gewürzhaus’s own cooking school where they would serve the food that are cooked with mixed spices from their store’s products.
In the shop, the conversations we overheard from shopkeepers and customers were inevitably about food; how certain spices can blend well with certain meat dishes; how to mix and make an authentic Thai Tom Yum soup; what to sprinkle on top of a cake. The conversations that customers overheard from other people’s discussions can make good impressions on them when shopping for products in the store. Hence, having a passion for cooking and being a food lover are must-have qualities the store looks for when they hire retail sale assitants.
When we explored the in-store experience of Gewürzhaus, we touched on the topic of how customer’s perception responded to the physical environment around them. We observed and explored how humans’ five senses responded to the products and the store circulation. We learnt that human emotion was a key link in the shopping experience.
Customer experience through digital interactive design:
In every purchase that I made in Gewürzhaus, I received their business card that came along with their unique package. On the business card, text in brand’s color, gold, was used to show Gewurzhaus’ s website and social media accounts. Customers shared what they cooked over the week or weekends on their social media by hash-tagging the name of #Gewürzhaus. People found information of Gewürzhaus through their friends’ social media posting, which is a successful way of marketing.
The website was strategically designed in conjunction with the actual products that displayed in the physical retail shops. Instead of going to the physical shops, it gave customers a more flexible option in the ways of shopping. As we navigated the website, we could find detailed descriptions and historical background about the varieties of herbs, spices, salt & pepper, and tea. Like navigating in their physical shops, the website is also designed with good visual design and navigation. However, with online shopping, customers can’t touch, smell and taste the products through the digital shop. Hence, customers either already knew about the products or they purchased based on the information they read from the website.
To enhance customer experience, Gewürzhaus also provided cooking classes, which we could book online. Given that the design of the shop took inspiration from traditional spice markets of exotic locations throughout the world, the cooking classes were also modelled with variety of cooking classes based on different cultural cuisines around the world. If customers could not goto the cooking classes, variety of recipes were also available.
We can take GewürzhausHerb & Spice Merchants as a case study of how customers are engaged both emotionally and behaviorally, of how communication on social media and physical retail stores should both excel in emotional appeal, and of how to encourage various forms of interaction with the brand. Increasingly, success at retail is less about what the retailer has to sell and more about how they sell it. Personalization has also been the latest trend in retail. In this case, customers self-service their own preferred portion of spices, select varieties of spices, create their own blend of spices, and learn more about food cooking through available videos or recipes from websites or cooking classes; these are all part of the personalization trend.
GewürzhausHerb & Spice Merchants showed us a good example of branding strategy by combining their good in-store customer service, as well as with the interactive experience through actual cooking classes and social media platforms; this kind of personalised experiences kept customers coming back to their brand again and again. More importantly, it gave customers the sensation of being in an exotic spice market; and experienced the taste of their own cooking of the exotic cuisines. We didn’t need to travel far to the Middle-East or South Asia, but we could simply use the spices from Gewürzhaus, cook the exotic dishes in our own kitchens in our cozy homes.
幾年前，我很幸運地參觀了位於伊朗中部文化古都伊斯法罕的bazaar 傳統市場。走在bazaar 傳統市場就像走進迷宮裡一樣。吸引我停下來最多次的攤位， 是那些賣彩色手繪小刀和手工製作盤子的攤位，還有豐富多彩的香料和糖果的攤位，而香料和糖果都放在各個不同的大袋子裡展示著。我可以聞到各種香料和烹飪用的草藥，一股香料香味籠罩著整個bazaar 傳統市場。緊鄰香料攤位的，是堅果和乾果的攤販。店主大聲叫賣著，並邀請經過的顧客試吃。顧客們都來到了這些攤位選擇他們要的香料、乾果等；店主便將其一一舀起裝袋後，遞給顧客、結帳；就這樣完成了每筆交易。
案例研究：雪梨Strand Arcade的Gewürzhaus Herb ＆ Spice Merchants的香料店鋪
當我走進Gewürzhaus Herb＆Spice Merchants的香料店鋪時，我問同行的朋友，»你有沒有去逛過在中東和南亞城市的市集，或bazaar傳統市場？» — 這是我腦海中浮現的第一個問題。Gewürzhaus Herb ＆ Spice Merchants是一家精品香料零售商店，位於雪梨中央商務區，最具代表性之一的維多利亞式遺產Strand Arcade建築內，店內提供來自世界各地350多種的香料、草藥、鹽、辣椒、茶、糖 。
品牌最早源自於德國。 Gewürzhaus意為德文的“香料屋”。來自墨爾本的姐妹Eva和Maria Konecsny是這個品牌的創業總監，姐妹熱衷烹飪和熱愛食物。他們的第一家商店於2001年在墨爾本的卡爾頓開業，每個Gewürzhaus商店都擁有自己的特色性的設計。雪梨Gewürzhaus商店，由墨爾本的Doherty Design室內設計工作室設計。設計的理念是鼓勵顧客在店內探索和產品有所互動，去體驗、嗅聞、觸摸、和品嚐商品。這很類似我在中東bazaar傳統市場的購物經歷，但是不完全一樣。所有的草藥、香料、鹽，和茶都是顧客可’自助舀’的形式，而不是透過店主舀取。草藥、香料、鹽，和茶被放在一個個透明的展示桶中。顧客可自行掀起任何透明桶的蓋子，舀出其中的香料。並透過看到、聞到，來選擇想購買的商品。店內的香料，也按世界美食區域性分類成：澳大利亞、東南亞、印度，和中東…等區域性的香料來陳列。
“重要的是，要保持德國精緻的店鋪服務和美學上的傳統。並讓香料及其歷史為自己說話”Gewürzhaus的業主說道。“Doherty Design 室內設計工作室想要透過香料，引起人們關注時代和歷史。我們想要強調香料的歷史，而不是香料的異國情調“ —
在Gewürzhaus商店裡，我們常常聽到店員與顧客在討論關於如何烹飪“食物”的話題。譬如，香料如何與某些肉類食材融合? 如何混合烹調出正宗的泰國冬蔭功湯? 何種香料撒在蛋糕上才美味等等。顧客可以從旁聽店員回答其他顧客的談話中，留下好的印象與購物經驗。因此，我想當Gewürzhaus在招募新的零售銷售店員時，其任用標準應會是選擇喜愛烹飪和食品的應徵者。
每一次我在Gewürzhaus購物時，從他們獨特的包裝裡都會收到一張他們的名片。名片上有用代表其品牌形象的金色行銷文字。名片上有Gewurzhaus的官網，及可在Facebook、Instagram、和Twitter 找到品牌相關訊息。顧客可透過輸入＃Gewürzhaus，在Gewürzhaus 的Facebook、Instagram平台上，分享他們在本週或週末的烹飪過程或成果照片。人人就因透過朋友的社交平台動態，發現了Gewürzhaus的相關信息，而事實證明這是一種成功的行銷方式。
以Gewürzhaus Herb ＆ Spice Merchants作為案例研究，我們提到用戶體驗，這意味著透過網路社交媒體和實體零售商店的設計，可以看到透過顧客個人的情感、行為，與品牌的各種互動過程。現今成功的零售業者，不再只是關心要賣什麼商品，更多關係的是在於他們如何銷售。個性化就是零售業銷售的最新趨勢。在這種情況下，允許顧客自助拿取他們喜歡的各種香料，並混合在一起。或者透過視頻或網站上的食譜資訊自學烹飪，這些都是個性化趨勢的一部分。
Gewürzhaus Herb ＆ Spice Merchants的香料店鋪，向我們展現了一個很棒的品牌策略範例，他們結合了良好的店內顧客服務、提供實體烹飪課程，和網路社交平台的互動體驗;這樣個性化的體驗，培養顧客一次又一次地回到他們的店購物。更重要的是，它給了消費者猶如置身在異國情調的香料市場上購物的感覺，並體驗自己烹飪異國風美食的滋味。我們不需要遠行到中東或南亞，但可以簡單地使用Gewürzhaus的香料，舒適的在家中廚房烹飪出美味的異國菜餚。
GewürzhausHerb & Spice Merchants’s official website: https://gewurzhaus.com.au/