A creative boost

Crafting a better experience for Michaels.






Michaels, the U.S.'s largest specialty retailer of arts and crafts materials, saw five categories as transformational to its business. We partnered with Michaels to expand and highlight those areas so it could better compete with both independent retailers and other major competitors.

With the help of consumer insights – and with an eye on the return on investment – we identified a need for the store to have more personality and provide inspiration and fun throughout.

To jump-start this goal, we first looked at how space and capital could be allocated for maximum brand and financial return. The exercise not only improved store organization and optimized the space allocation of merchandise, but also freed up square footage for the inspirational experience, while placing greater emphasis on key categories.

The “art of inspiration” design filter, along with the research insights, guided the new layout, way-finding program, and adjacency plan. This clearly communicated Michaels’ expertise, while also using products to tell the story.

To ensure that displays were as effective as possible, we established shelving and category principles based on critical, shopper decision hierarchy insights.

The prototype is an open, modern design with wider aisles, warm colors, brighter lighting, “inspiration kiosks” for project ideas, and workspaces for customers to layout a design before purchasing.

An entry focal creates a gathering place for seasonal and trend items. The display, which is pulled from many departments, immediately inspires the shopper and improved sight lines allow a vantage point of the entire store so he or she can quickly locate a destination.

Customers are raving about the new shopping experience and the craft blogs are buzzing with stories of shoppers driving miles past their nearest Michaels in order to shop in one of the remodeled stores.