Like the products they offer, they want their retail spaces to be bigger, better and also cheaper. But above all, the customer is King; so they don’t want to inconvenience him in any way. For contractors that translates to – make it awesome and make it fast. The last thing a retail outlet wants is to turn customers away.
BNZ came to us because they wanted to build a flagship store and make it a unique experience for their customers. It would have the best service and the best technology. Of course they wanted that “wow factor” without an “ouch factor” budget. This was a design that would point the way for all future branches, so it had to be do-able.
The site they had chosen was the new NorthWest shopping centre out in West Auckland. There are over 75 retail outlets in the centre and, in an ever more competitive environment, each one has been designed to impress and entice customers inside. Architects, designers and store outfitters are facing bigger challenges when every new shopping centre has to be better than the last. The mall is the new high street, it’s where we go to shop and the banks are well aware that their neighbour might be their competition.
The paradox for banks is that enabling technology is driving their business. Self-service is the norm and with every advance, there are fewer and fewer reasons to go into a branch. However statistics would suggest that people go into a branch once every six months, so when customers do go in BNZ wanted to make it an amazing experience.
For Vada the challenge was to find technology that was not only state-of-the-art but also reliable and secure. After all, this was a retail environment that was in use seven days a week, it had to work, there could be no down time and because it is a bank it had to be secure. Time is usually the judge and jury that determines how reliable new technology is but for this project the deadlines were extremely short. We had to be supremely confident about whatever we recommended and had to know the product inside out.
We had ten weeks to scour the planet to find the cutting edge technology we needed and only three days to deliver and install everything at the site.
The pressure was intense. It was fortunate for us that forward thinking is ingrained in how we work. We are always thinking about tomorrow. That gives us a healthy head start in the race to find the next new thing. But getting it back to New Zealand in time to have it installed is another story.
To have visual impact as the customer walked into the store, we wanted to create a first for New Zealand, a wall made entirely of LEDs. This would allow us to show one large unbroken wall of imagery – a much more powerful image and more elegant solution than panels. The only trouble was that the product we needed was on the other side of the world and the clock was ticking to get the job done. The screens were loaded on board a ship and dispatched and we tracked their slow progress across the seas. But they were not travelling fast enough. To hit our deadline we decided we had to pull the product off the ship in Hong Kong and fly it to New Zealand. That was a major job in itself. We had to find the container, have the cargo unloaded, get it through customs and onto a plane. It was a headache but it would have been heartache if it did not arrive in New Zealand in time. It was the defining and show stopping technology the project needed and worth all the effort.
Of course we were not the only ones working to such tight timelines, everyone was doing their best to make the job a success. When so many different contractors are working together, co-operation is key. Three days and nights go by in a flash but after a whirlwind of activity, BNZ got a show-stopping store.