Doing business: designing retail stores and complexes

The increase in online shopping is forcing physical stores to “reinvent themselves”, and offer customers an invested and well planned experience which makes leaving the house for it worthwhile.

  • BVD Building & Housing
  • June 2019
  • An interview with Lior Koren
The butchery compound at Yohananof, Karaso Branch, Tel-AvivRedesign and execution of the chain store branches. Planning the layout, designing and erecting all display facilities, shelving systems and signage. [Photo by: Aviv Kurt]

About the advantage of a multidisciplinary team and an all inclusive service to the customer; the shopping experience as a tool to increase revenues, and coping with physical retail challenges in a digital age.

Readymade food court in Yohananof, Karaso branch, Tel-AvivInvestment in peripheral decoration and special treatment for delicatessens, in addition, catering areas have been incorporated in the branches. | Photo by: Aviv Kurt

Lior Koren, graduated in industrial design at the Holon Institute of Technology. At the beginning of his career he designed products and display facilities, and in time was drawn into the field of retail, where he discovered that his marketing tendency finds expression in design, which in turn yields a unique and effective outcome.

The Koren Company was established by him about twenty years ago, and after accumulating a great deal of knowledge, experience and gaining the trust of its customers, it moved on to fully design points of sale. Nowadays, the company designs and erects various sales complexes, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, gyms, concept stores, visitor centers and more. Leading brands and retailers in Israel are among its valuable clients.

Concept store – "SteimatsKids"Design and establishment of the flag store at the Sharonim Mall, for a brand which incorporates books and games.

The company works as a “key contractor” for the client – Design and establishment of the project from concept to execution (in the Design & Build format which exists abroad yet is less common in Israel), in a desire to provide the customer with a product which resembles the “promise” embodied during the imaging and presentation stage as much as possible, as well as to guarantee a high level of execution. In fact the entire process takes place with us – from formulating the initial concept and building the layout of the store, through all aspects of design and planning, management of all production and manufacturing stages up to the installation on site. Accordingly, the unique structure of the company together with our multidisciplinary format of the team, today numbers more than 20 professionals, consisting of architects, interior designers, industrial designers, graphic designers, project managers and a logistic team who all work together in cooperation to create successful and unique sales complexes.

Vegetable compound at Bullmarket, Or YehudaThe design included all of the display facilities and shelving systems | Photo by: Aviv Kurt
The Butchery at Bullmarket, Or YehudaAn invested customer experience at a neighborhood store the same as can found in large chain stores | Photo by: Aviv Kurt

The overall view is quite evident in “Koren’s” complexes. When the design of the facilities derives from the planogram, the complementary graphic design which intensifies the three dimensional form of the physical facility, and having everything accomplished with a deep understanding of the customer’s behavior at the point of sale taking in account the store’s operating constraints, a whole which exceeds its parts is formed. As an industrial designer, Lior views a store as a type of “machine” which aims to make products accessible to the customer in an efficient and beneficial manner, and each component in it is important for the overall action. Attention is given not only to the “overall look” but also (and most of all), to the “last meter” where the customer’s purchasing decisions are made. The result is an improvement of dozens of percents in revenues per meter for the stores the company handles, and in some cases even beyond that.

Koren’s design concept places the shopping experience high on the list of considerations. There is great value in finding the right “story” which supports the selling of the product in that category. It is easy to sell cheeses in a delicatessen that looks like a Dutch street with a windmill (as it was done for example at the Sharonim branch of the Hatzi Hinam retail chain and later on in additional branches), and designing a vegetable compound with an invested farmers market atmosphere, speaks to the customer and gives the fruit and vegetables a worthy platform.

Cheese deli at Hatzi Hinam, SharonimExperiential design in an atmosphere of a Dutch street. The success of the compound led to its repeated execution in additional branches as well.
Hazi Hinam, Home textile & Clothing floorThe design of the ceiling is intriguing to look at from the entry floor, invites you to go upstairs, contributes to the separation of categories and outlines the customer's route.

The increase in online shopping forces the physical stores to improve, streamline and reinvent themselves. The customer who has become accustomed to high levels of price, service and comfort, expects no less from a regular store, and even more expects an experience worthy of him leaving the house. The attention invested today on website design leaves nothing to chance, and so must the physical store be treated – an accurate design of user experience, continuity and consecutive shopping. In the physical store it is much more complex due to the multitude of factors involved (branding, architecture, interior design and sale concept) which must be fully synchronized.

Ahava, QumranRefreshed interior design for the "Ahava" company flag store – the store is designated for tourists at the Dead Sea Visitor Center
City of David, A shop at the Visitor CenterSouvenir and gift shop in the Visitor Center at the City of David National Park.

Lior and the team are forever searching for the next best thing in terms of retail thinking, and love taking on a project from a new field, designing a facility never seen before, discovering new technologies and materials, and so on – challenge and change are part of Koren’s DNA. Over the past year the company has been undergoing a process relating to the issue of sustainable design. The team has been trained on the subject, a unique material library was established while searching for better alternatives in terms of raw materials, colors and technologies that we make use of. The goal is to try and implement green thinking in store design, which is gaining momentum in the world and is important to promote in Israel as well.

Lior Koren and the company's teamToasting the New Year. Many on our team members have been working with us for many years, much like a family.