Opening Perry Sport’s New Amsterdam Concept Store: An Interview with VM Manager Wendy Glansdorp
Having recently undergone a takeover from UK retail giant JD Sports, Perry - a longstanding Netherlands sportswear chain - just opened up a new state-of-the-art flagship store on Amsterdam’s famous Kalverstraat. We spoke to Wendy Glansdorp, Visual Merchandising Manager at Perry Sport to discover more about why this new opening is so important, how the store went from design to creation with the help of MockShop, and how things have changed since the JD buyout.
Hi Wendy, could you tell us a bit about your role and what you do here at Perry?
I’m responsible for the VM department at Perry Sport and Aktiesport. For the last two years I’ve been managing a team of 21, working on how our stores are visually merchandised.
There was some big news recently regarding JD Sports and Perry. Could you tell us what happened in the last few months?
More than a half year ago, JD stepped in and took us over. Everything went so fast from there. It's great to see they [JD] have a strong belief in our vision and can help us in achieving where we want to take the Perry brand.
You recently opened a very slick, modern store on Amsterdam's busiest shopping street. Any reason why it's so important? Did JD have anything to do with that?
Our new Kalverstraat store is a great example of how our vision managed to come alive under JD. For one, it’s the first new concept store for Perry and our new vision - it's why opening it on Kalverstraat was so important to us.
JD coming in was a huge help, as the plans were sitting there for two years already - having already been drafted up in MockShop. With their help, we were finally able to develop and open the new store.
So this store is very different to Perry Sport's older, existing ones?
In every way it’s different. It’s better in furnishings, layout, design, creativity - just everything really.
How exactly is it different? More modern? Targeted to a new audience?
Perry has been rebranded - our strategy has changed. In fashion stores it is already very common to have a gender based lay out - and in sports it's a new way to present the different product categories. Now, Perry Sport is a women-led store, it's quite different to what you see in our older more traditional stores.
Now, when a customer walks in, they enter a women's store which you can see and feel in the furnishings, merchandising, fixtures and just the whole look and feel. Nothing is the same as it was. We have also integrated lots of screens, digital signage and LED backlit visual frames in the store, which is a major update from the old store where we only used traditional printed PoS.
"Now, when a customer walks in, they enter a women's store which you can see and feel in the furnishings, merchandising, fixtures and just the whole look and feel. Nothing is the same as it was"
And what would you say your role was in this change? More inspirational or more executional?
The inspiration comes more from our brand manager, Bote Galema, he’s our major creative force with a team that supports him. Me and my team are responsible for the translation of those plans and ideas into an efficient and shoppable in-store execution.
In essence, we had a brief to fulfil. We had to answer to how it was all going to be possible and exactly how that was going to be reflected in the look and feel of the store.
What would you say was the role of MockShop in the new store opening?
MockShop gave us a view in 3D of how the store would look like, with all the ideas, all the inspiration and everything we've been brainstorming about. After the long, drawn out, process of ideas going back and forth, I remember us standing in the new store and feeling like ‘Now it's real, now it's touchable'.
MockShop helped us visualise how we were going to make the plans a reality and gave us an impression of how the store was going to finally appear. It helped us find out if our ideas were possible in the store, in the presentation of the complete product collections, fixture placements, routings, signage, and more.
You use MockShop for more than just opening your new store though, right - how is MockShop being used since the acquisition?
We use MockShop the same way as we did before. Only now, when we send a 3D mockup of the allocated brand space to our partners they become really excited - saying things like: ‘Oh my gosh how did you do that?’. It gives them such a good view of their allocated space in-store. They want to, and enjoy knowing in detail where their merchandise will be presented, what floor or wall space do they have and what does it look like. The 3D mockup in MockShop shows them this in great detail.
Now we can show our brand partners: 'This is your space, this is how your brand will look like in the Perry environment'. In that way MockShop helped us a lot in the process working up to the realisation of the store. All changes and wishes of the brands can be integrated in the 3D mock up.
We use it a lot more now, because it gave everybody who we wanted to do business with a complete overview over the store plan before we actually realised the store - that was really important.
"Now, when we send a 3D mockup of the allocated brand space to our partners they become really excited - saying things like: ‘Oh my gosh how did you do that?’ It gives them such a good view of their allocated space in-store"
It sounds like brands are coming to you more often with the development of the new store.
Yes, they are. Being partnered up with JD, a very important player in the retail business in the UK, and them having a really good relationship with the various sport and adventure brands helped us a lot to get more support from these brands.
We are operating under a healthy umbrella now. Brands are giving us access to their better collections and want to go into an extended partnership with us. They believe in our vision, they believe what Perry stands for. Now, with the help of JD, all the brands we want in store are aligned with us and support us even more.
And since the acquisition, what's the main way JD supports Perry?
Financially of course, but we also need doors to be opened to bring in and sell in the right brands. Some brands don't want their latest collections in lower-end stores, they need a high-level concept store to make sure they're telling the right brand story.
We love that we are now a retailer where higher end brands and their latest collections want to be presented in.
"Some brands don't want their latest collections in lower-end stores, they need a high-level concept store to make sure they're telling the right brand story. We love that we are now a retailer where higher end brands and their latest collections want to be presented in"
It sounds like you're pretty happy with the Visual Retailing technology. What's the future looking like in how you'll be using it?
I love what we can do with it. It helps us a lot, and in the future we want to do so much more with the VR software.
We can use it in all other departments, not only VM, that’s what I discovered. The buying team and the planning team can both use it. Those are possibilities that we really want to keep open in the future and discover what other opportunities the software can provide us.
And it is a beautiful looking store. Do you think this new direction of the new flagship store will propagate across the whole chain later on?
That’s the intention, yeah. We want to open our next concept store around the end of February/March 2017.
Great, looking forward to seeing even more openings in future. Thanks a lot for your time Wendy.
About Wendy Glansdorp
Wendy is Visual Merchandise manager at Perry and Aktiesport. She has been working with the brand for 2 years, overseeing a team of 21 staff and ensuring the stores are merchandised to a consistently high level.