The Edit Bar
Surprising to some, cinema ticket sales are on the up. Despite the rise of online TV streaming subscriptions, people are still going to the cinema in ever greater numbers.
‘Why is this?’ I hear you ask. Well Beyond believes it is all about the quality of the experience.
In January of this year, Vue opened a new bar concept in the cinema foyer of its Finchley Road site. This busy London location was chosen as the large foyer space offered an exciting opportunity to be developed into an area that customers could relax and enjoy a drink before or after the film.
Vue engaged Beyond to develop a strategy for improving the customer experience in its foyer and bar areas and to create a premium bar experience, using innovative and consumer-led design.
Our approach started with a detailed analysis of the customer journey. What does the customer see? This might seem obvious, but it is not until you ask what they should see that you can begin to identify areas that aren’t quite reaching their full potential.
Understanding the subconscious triggers that affect behaviour is not easy, however it is something that can really deliver results. Market traders have understood this for thousands of years. Look at any Moroccan souk or French vegetable market and you will see examples of brilliant visual merchandising, clear messaging and incredible visual feasts for the eyes. These things are powerful attractors for visitors, and they generate sales in a highly competitive environment.
For the bar at Vue it was a case of making the back-bar work hard, as both an attractor through abundant and clear presentation of the variety of products, and in the clarity of communication.
Sales counters of any type can be stressful places. Presented with lots of choice and under pressure from a queue of waiting customers, we can often feel hassled into making snap decisions. With this in mind it was important to clearly position helpful ‘Point of Sale’ messaging at the right height and in a direct line of sight from the counter. Trebling the size of the spirits display and replacing glasses on the back bar with wine and beers helped to create a sense of ‘abundance and believability’ as a bar offer along with Carlsberg and Schweppes neon signs that were added to signal ‘bar’ from way across the foyer.
The second most important area to develop was that of ambience and experience. Just providing a space with seating was not going to trigger people to make the decision to stop and have a drink. We have to play with all of the tools available to create a welcoming and emotionally attractive space.
Colour, texture, lighting, materials, seating types, acoustics, levels of enclosure and protection and more, all play a part in making a space comfortable. The bar at Vue sits within a 10 meter high space and needed a ceiling to create a sense of intimacy. A dropped black slatted ceiling with feature lighting provides this need while 3D pyramid wall panelling helps with acoustic resonance as well as being a striking design feature.
Early results are showing impressive uplifts in sales and a fantastic response from customers. Creating great customer experiences coupled with strategically designed communications is what many retailers should be concentrating on right now.