Envisioning Own Retail

While working at the Portland-based Ancona + Associates I helped develop a European own-retail strategy for Samsung. In response to Apple's retail success Samsung sought to explore new distribution models for their broad family of products.

My Role

Researcher, Presentation Designer


April 2013 - August 2013

When Samsung approached A+A to develop a retail strategy a great deal of research had already been conducted in-house and by third parties. Our first task was to come up to speed and synthesize the relevant material from work analyzing divisions of the business, characterizing their markets and customers, and exploring the feasibility of various avenues for increasing their european retail presence. I consumed and reported on this body of existing work, helping our small team make sense of several years worth of in-depth consulting. In the image below I've elected to show one of the customer journeys we created out of this effort, in which a persona representing one of three location types we proposed buys his first smartphone. These journeys combined existing strategies with new thinking to situate the brand in a human context.

In partnership with our principal, I researched retail environments across market segments, from Best Buy to Burberry. Understanding how brands up and down the market create spaces and experiences for their products gave us an important vocabulary with which to focus discussion. The Burberry flagship, shown below, is an example of a company selling its own products in its own store, with an obvious attraction to luxury-minded consumers. This is not to say you can't find Burberry anywhere else, but the products on offer, and the way in which they are offered, are importantly distinct from other outlets.

To support the concept of each store type we suggested a high-level approach to product allocation. Samsung's range is vast, encompassing everything from laundry machines to high-end tv's. Providing a vision that addressed that range of complexity was useful in grounding the store concepts in the reality of the business.

I researched a variety of European markets looking for markers of retail potential. At the time several Eastern European cities were developing into settings of interest but because the project team was headquartered in London we decided to scope to the U.K. I looked for patterns of other major electronic retailers placing stores in the region, studied census data and combined my findings with white papers to design the map shown here, proposing locations and count for the stores.

One of the most interesting—and most fun—parts of this work was imagining programming for each store type. We presented a concept for experiential retail that involved much more than a few racks of clothes. In considering ways to invite people from the community in to engage with and learn about Samsung technologies I developed a model of open spaces: the stage, the lounge and the home, that represented Samsung's potential presence in customer's lives. The calendar included here imagines a week of store programming for the open stage, showcasing Samsung products as vehicles for entertainment, performance, and expression

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