How to reduce our products’ theft and shoplifting (in retail stores) while increasing their brand perception?
In 2002, the TABAQUERÍAS B.A.T. project embarked on its journey to success, ultimately achieving acclaim with the prestigious Lápiz de Acero Award in 2003. British American Tobacco (BAT) innovatively reshaped brand positioning strategies within supermarket chains, prominently featuring additional products like soft drinks and personal care items. The central objective was to create dedicated sales and brand promotion centers, amplifying the visibility and allure of cigarettes, tobaccos and related accessories. This initiative aimed to counter theft, engage consumers with diverse purchase options, enhance convenience, drive carton sales beyond regular retail figures, and elevate the standing of various brands. The impetus behind this initiative was the recognition that both the display of tobacco products and customer security and service were being overlooked.
Designing BAT tobacconists presented a dual challenge. First, they needed to embody the essence of BAT's international brands, drawing inspiration from the shapes, concepts and communication strategies, particularly those of Kent, Kool, and Belmont.
Simultaneously, they had to create a visually striking impact that seamlessly blended with the supermarket environment. Moreover, the tobacconists had to be modular, easily installable and maintainable, posing a significant design complexity. They required durability, eye-catching aesthetics, self-illumination, integration of electrical and product security systems, adaptability to various display types, and the ability to accommodate all types of products available in the market, not confined to BAT's offerings.
Additionally, these tobacconists had to consolidate all tobacco-related materials, excluding cigarette packs and cartons, such as lighters and derivative products, while displaying competitors' brands impartially.
The design challenge extended to developing distinct design concepts for each supermarket typology and brand. Tabaquerías in Carulla featuring the Kent brand had to be distinctive from those in the 14 in Cali or Carrefour and so on.
The result was highly satisfactory for the company. It represented an average 30% to 50% increase in sales, a considerable decrease in theft and product losses, improved 36% customer service, and higher brand visibility.
Each supermarket presented specific requirements that needed to be addressed and standardized. Some needed to adapt to the space and aesthetics of wine cellars and liquor sales points, while others had to align with cash registers and payment points. This necessitated the development of materials and design concepts that seamlessly integrated, all while maintaining a relatively low production cost and a high promotional impact through design.
The achieved result brought immense satisfaction to the company, culminating in a remarkable average increase in product sales ranging from 30% to 50%, almost eliminating theft and product losses, enhancing customer service perception regarding brand quality and bestowing logistical and administrative benefits upon supermarkets and large retailers. Moreover, this initiative translated into incentives that significantly heightened customer satisfaction.
The production phase showcased an extensive array of materials and processes, embodying creativity and technical prowess. Materials spanned from CR sheets, undergoing processes like die-cutting, bending, welding, laser cutting, and water cutting, to an assortment of laminated, machined, and treated materials such as aluminum, rubber flooring, wood, melamine, tempered glass, acrylic, polymers and resins. Diverse woods were machined, treated, and laminated, and polystyrenes were laminated and thermoformed. Structured cabling systems and a variety of lighting systems, including fluorescent, halogen, and dichroic, were also integrated. This diverse spectrum of materials and processes underscored the intricate complexity and innovation inherent in the production of these tobacconists.