Ben & Jerry's gives sneak preview of future European store designs

12th May 2017

Chris Sheriff of Ben & Jerry's

American ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s gave Retail Design Expo delegates an exclusive sneak peek of its soon-to-open European ‘scoop shops’, as it embarks on a re-pointing exercise to localise its current US-influenced design cues to suit a more discerning European customer-base.

Chris Sherriff, head of retail in Europe for Ben & Jerry’s, admitted to delegates: “We have around 200 stores in Europe but, if we’re being honest, we’ve never quite pitched them right.”

In acknowledgement of this, he explained how the brand has been working with consultancy I-AM to develop ways to make the stores more appropriate to the locations they sit in. I-AM director Peter Champion revealed exactly how this has been done:

“We’ve researched exactly what elements we need to change, and exactly what we can leave alone, so that Ben & Jerry’s can still present its activism and social responsibility credentials, but do it in an environment that is more in-touch with the specific location each store resides in,” he said.

Champion and his team identified different customer types (including the ‘brand loyalist’; the ‘ice-cream lover’; and ‘the tourist’), and for each location has mapped the proportions of each type of customer there is likely to be, so stores can be designed appropriately to match the dominant customer type.

Pete Champion

“By doing this, we’re able to keep 60% of Ben & Jerry’s global personality and design features,” said Champion. “For the remainder, we’re then able to add different layers of local personalisation according to the specific city, where in that city the store is, and according to what local competition their might be.”

Sherriff said menus will be localised too, including partnering with local suppliers where possible to live true to the brand’s sustainability credentials. Meanwhile, there is an accompanying people-strategy for local stores to imbue themselves in the local community, such as by organising events.

“Designing the stores this way means we can build up a toolkit of interior components/layouts that can be modified, or played with to suit different stores in Europe,” said Champion.  Added Sherriff: “It’s very much a storyboarding concept that we’ve developed. We’ve created storyboards for different customer journeys – just like a movie director would create a storyboard for his/her next film. It’s an approach we really feel works.”

The updated Ben & Jerry’s stores are expected to be unveiled over the summer.