This month the doors opened on the first Australasian-based Fisher & Paykel Experience Centre, designed to "inspire and empower customers, designers, architects and specifiers during the research and planning phase of their kitchen design journey".
Located in the heart of Sydney’s design district at 90-96 Bourke Street, Alexandria, the Fisher & Paykel Experience Centre is a collaborative partnership between Fisher & Paykel, designers Alt Group, architects Fearon Hay and Satellite Media that took over 18 months to design and build.
Fisher & Paykel GM of Design Integration, Mark Elmore, says that the Experience Centre concept is the result of research that says that consumers around the world who are in the process of changing or upgrading their kitchens want tactile and visual experiences with a product, "they don’t just want to walk the rows - they want to be entertained."
Hence the new Experience Centre (EC), a place where customers and designers can interact with F&P appliances and DCS Grill Outdoor product.
The EC is not so much a traditional retail showroom, more a highly "curated", high style space displaying a key selection of products as they would appear in the home, supported by interactive technology that provides additional product information.
The EC does not replace the retail environment, but complements it by helping customers create a wish list to take to a designer, architect or retailer.
The Sydney EC joins others like the recently opened New York site, and those already in place in Canada, China, Thailand, India and Vietnam.
Taking a "curated experience" into the retail enviromentment
Curating the consumer's experience isn't new, even if it's done particularly well, as here.
What is newsworthy is that F&P has confirmed it has plans to progressively roll out elements of its Experience Centre design and digital technology into New Zealand retailers this year.
Mark Elmore says this roll-out of "new generation retail displays" are part of Fisher & Paykel’s continued strategy to present "a consistent and premium brand across all customer touch points.
“By blending together a curated collage-style range of appliances supported by interactive technology, we hope to give New Zealanders a more immersive, simplified and premium retail experience to assist them plan and choose appliances to best suit their lifestyle needs,” he says.
The first new generation retail displays will be seen in "selected New Zealand stores" from April/May 2016.
As to which retailers will choose to make room for the displays, we will be following this development with interest.