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Inside Retail & Tailor Inc

Tailor Inc reshapes Z Energy’s retail experience

Tailor Inc reshapes Z Energy’s retail experience

Z Energy’s (Z) refreshed retail sites are now refuelling Kiwis as well as their cars, after the commencement of a dramatic transformation of its in-store retail experience. The refresh reaches beyond petrol to capture the attention of customers with a quality food and beverage offer. 

Z’s store refresh program has been driven by the recognition that customers visit modern-day service stations for multiple reasons. Some seek a quick refuel and nothing else, some want to grab a snack on the go as well as fuel, and others still might be looking for fresh coffee, hot food, or urgent grocery supplies.  

After Z chose Tailor Inc as its preferred partner due to its depth of retail design experience within its team, the two companies embarked on a collaborative journey of not only redesigning store interiors but addressing how Z’s high-profile brand could be elevated.

“Throughout the collaboration process, not even the smallest stone was left unturned,” recalls Laura Stevenson, Tailor Inc’s design lead. The customer journey, staff experience and safety, convenience and the implementation of industry-leading design were just the tip of the iceberg for this project.

One of Tailor Inc’s senior project managers, Elaine Joyce, describes Z Energy as unique. “Its desire to pursue the extraordinary aligned perfectly with our desire to help it move forward to find the best version of itself.

“Together, we worked on not only the presentation and appearance of the store to the customer but on how to increase the customer experience overall.” 

Their first revamped retail store opened its doors in Waiouru in the Central North Island prior to Christmas last year, and seven sites are now complete. Z is working to implement the refreshed look across 50 stores during the next three years across New Zealand. 

A key point of difference in Z’s revamped offering is a commitment to quality coffee. Push-button style, automated coffee machines have been replaced with high-quality European espresso machines with baristas making fresh coffee to order with certified fairtrade organic coffee beans.   

Tailor Inc – which counts Kiwi Property, Ormiston Town Centre, Commercial Bay, The Warehouse Group and Les Mills among its clients – won a competitive pitch for the Z project. Its bid was boosted by in-depth research on branding and marketing, as well as addressing practical design elements.  

“Through this process, we were able to discover what was currently missing from their branding at store level and develop a design that not only enhanced Z’s brand but the overall retail offering and customer experience,” recalls Stevenson.

Tailor Inc helped Z streamline its colour palette for its refreshed retail spaces, dropping the existing shades of blue and contrasting the bold signature orange with clean black and white to produce a more modern look and feel.

To add some theatre to the retail experience, Z’s food preparation was brought forward with displays of hot food and fresh produce available at the counter.  A generous ‘lean space’ was then added to offer comfort for the customer to wait for their coffee or consume snacks in-store.

“Z wanted to be known for fresh, fast and tasty food. We achieved this by bringing the preparation of food front of house using the shell of the store space more effectively allowing the customer to see what was happening with their food,” adds Joyce. 

“The desire to create a sense of theatre and to be viewed seriously as a food and beverage retail store enabled us to bring all of that functionality forward where the customer could actively engage with Z staff. 

“Self-service food cabinets make a brand’s food offer more appealing than old-fashioned pie warmers many Kiwis are used to at service station convenience stores. If it’s simple and the food is visible then the whole selection and purchasing experience are made easy,” explains Joyce.

Another consideration was to design the interior of the stores so that they were visible from the outside.

“Visibility into the store was a huge part of this design. If you are sitting in your car, what can you see in the interior? What is going to pull you in? We knew that strong graphical elements at a high level would be key to the signage package we put together.”

As Z positions itself as “being for New Zealand”, maintaining a Kiwi theme was an important component of the brief from the Z team. “A ‘graphic journey’, featuring distinctive New Zealand cultural icons, had already been developed and we looked at ways of integrating this through the stores. Some of the added store features included dual-language banners with local authenticity boosted by the introduction of distinctive New Zealand building materials.”

Z has shared that the changes have brought about an increase in foot traffic with food and beverage seeing the biggest lifts. The team at Tailor Inc believe this is due to a total refresh of the brand, not just the interior.

“It sets them apart from what you would expect a petrol station to be,” adds Joyce. “Yes, it’s all about convenience, but the refreshed stores now have a very modern feel about them.”

*Tailor Inc is a principal project partnership business specialising in property strategy, commercial design and project management. Find out more about Tailor Inc here.