Farmers chief executive David Collins says Farmers at Westfield Newmarket is a service proposition based on the idea of “room settings in a contemporary style”. Each category is sharply defined, to make it easier for customers to navigate, and displays can be moved to make sure shoppers are constantly being offered something new.
“The whole idea behind this was for us to make a store that can move and can change,” Collins says. “It’s the store of the future for Farmers.”
Digital screens are scattered throughout the store, and interactive features like flatteringly-lit selfie mirrors and make-up application stations are dotted between products.
More digital integration is visible in the way each sales counter can be used for Click and Collect pick-ups. Collins says this is a big part of the business for this area especially, saying Newmarket has one of the highest penetrations of online shoppers in the Farmers network.
The growing sales of rugs are reflected in a first-for-Farmers dedicated ‘rug shop’. Another first of its kind is a partnership with Sleepyhead, the Sleepyhead sleep studio. This distinct area has its own sound system, dedicated staff, and independent lighting.
“It really is something quite special,” says Collins.
Home fragrance is an important category for Farmers, and this is reflected by the placement of two separate home fragrance areas. One is upstairs and one downstairs.
“It’s a big part of our offer here and one we really wanted to focus on,” says Collins.
The furniture section boasts something new for Farmers – a collection of handmade, one-off wardrobes created from carved screens salvaged from villas in India. These are likely to retail at a comparable rate to the rest of Farmers’ furniture.
The toy section is located near an atrium-style space between two escalators which will be used for activations and events. Although Westfield Newmarket will open New Zealand’s first licensed Lego store later this year, the Farmers flagship also sports significant Lego integration.
“Rather than just toys, we’re trying to create a bit of theatre and a bit of fun, because it should be fun,” says Farmers head of merchandise Mark Prusher.
The beauty category at Farmers Newmarket is the biggest offer of its kind in the Farmers chain. It includes a number of new-to-New-Zealand activations, including the first full-service counter from US cult beauty brand The Ordinary and an exclusive counter for Revolution Beauty. It also boasts the first new-look Bobbi Brown counter, plus new-to-Farmers counters for Dermalogica, Kiehl’s, Jo Malone and K-beauty brand Tony Moly.
Service is key to this important part of the business, Collins says: “There’s been a lot of training taking place over the last few days. This is a highly serviced and very very productive area for us.”
“One of our best, fastest-growing areas, believe it or not, is men’s grooming,” he adds.
The part of the beauty category dedicated to make-up includes a Sephora-style row of benches and mirrors where customers are encouraged to ‘try before they buy’. All staff servicing this area are cross-trained.
“The whole idea behind this is to make it very interactive,” Collins says. “You can get behind the counters, walk between the gondolas. It makes it easy to shop because it’s not intimidating in any way.”
This has also been a key consideration in the lingerie section: “Lingerie can be quite an intimidating experience, especially in a department sore, so we tried to make more of an intimate experience.”
Special attention has been paid to the women’s fitting rooms, which have large, well-lit stalls. They’re perhaps only outdone by the men’s fitting rooms. Design elements between the men’s and women’s apparel sections contrast strongly, with brighter lighting and more wood used in the men’s area.