Koren – Design and construction of commercial complexes and stores
Many believe that successful marketing must be based on aggressive campaigns and persuasion efforts, however, more than once these cause people to purchase things they do not necessarily need. Lior Koren, who has been dealing with retail design for more than 20 years, thinks that it is to the contrary.
“The experience I have gained over the years proves that it is more appropriate to encourage consumers to make informed and the right decisions for themselves, void of the aggressive intervention of sales personnel or promotional strategies,” he says. “The smart way to do so involves a careful planning of the customer’s route inside the store, the creation of a pleasant shopping environment, and by designing convenient and aesthetic sales sites which encourage positive feelings.”
The company he founded which bears his name – Koren, has been accompanying some of the most prominent retail chain stores in Israel for a long time now, among which are Yochananof, Hatzi Hinam and Shuk City. The service includes the design, planning and the full construction of the store – starting from formulating the retail concept, planogram and architectural accompaniment, though the design of all the spaces on site, display systems, shelving, signage and more. “We handle the project’s management throughout the production, supervision and installation stages in the field, while considering operations, cleanliness and the organization of stations by employees,” he added.
Koren specializes in complex, multi-item stores such as supermarkets, convenience stores, hardware stores and more, however along the way the company has successfully executed projects relating to commerce and recreational complexes, gyms, visitor centers and more.
Unlike architectural firms and other design companies, Koren offers the business owner a complete solution which doesn’t end with design, but rather saves him the “headache” of executing the project which involves the intricate synchronization between many professionals, while closely managing a budget and schedules.
The company’s team consists of a multidisciplinary studio and a project management department who work together to provide the client with a key project, a one stop shop for all his requirements and desires. “Store design isn’t taught at design schools,” Koren emphasizes. “The field requires a combination of architecture, interior design, industrial and graphic design, project design and management, combined with a working knowledge in sales and retail, we well as working with many professional consultants. Professional knowledge acquired over many years of experience in the field is extremely important.
Tantalizing the sense of curiosity
Studio Koren is quite accustomed to unusual projects. “Over the past year we have been approached by IKEA, which is known for its high standard design capabilities, seeking our assistance in handling the Swedish Food store. Store customers pass it by and the chain wished to make it more prominent in order to encourage shoppers to visit it.”
Lior accepted the challenge and says: “I thought of myself as a customer – How unfortunate it is to visit the store and miss out on things that cannot be bought anywhere else in Israel. If people will not buy these products, IKEA will stop supplying them, and that’s a shame.”
When he and his staff approached the new design, they realized that the site required significant refreshing. “We created a shopping experience which is different than in other IKEA stores around the world. In fact, we made the site more attractive to the customer – without the promise of promotions or by means of aggressive promotion, but simply by arousing the natural curiosity of people visiting the store.
Local businesses have a built-in advantage
The retail industry has always been known to be highly competitive having narrow profit margins. However, in recent years, the need to compete with online shopping was added as well. According to Lior: “In order for people to come to the stores during this period, you need to give them a good reason to leave the house – an excellent shopping experience or some other significant value.”
Nowadays he sees more and more business owners who understand how important it is to invest in store design – and it is reflected in large chain stores as well as in quite a few small and medium sized stores: “In recent years we see a trend of large retail chain stores which open more neighborhood branches inside the cities, and less giant complexes in industrial zones.
Quite strangely, it is in fact the small and medium sized stores that are already present in neighborhoods and have a built-in advantage over these chain stores, which are afraid to give a fight and take advantage of their familiarity with the local crowd.”
Lior emphasizes that with the help of professional design and planning, it is possible to bring about an increase in revenues, and to significantly improve the proceeds per Sq/m. “In some cases, it can increase up to three times more, according to examples we have from projects we have done in recent years. When you utilize the sales complex well, it becomes more inviting and capable of drawing in even new crowds, the kind of which the business owner didn’t anticipate he could reach.”
Koren. Creating Retail Worlds.