A Fresh Space for Creative Expression

What if we could build greater customer loyalty through engaging physical retail? Working with Custom Ink, we helped to develop a more experiential, consumer-focused, and operations-friendly approach to physical retail.

Custom Ink started as an eCommerce storefront for custom apparel and then expanded into brick-and-mortar stores nearly two decades after its founding. Although the online business is still robust, they learned from these early stores that shoppers spent almost twice the amount in-store compared to online shoppers, and physical stores provided a greater opportunity to build long-lasting loyal relationships.

Since custom apparel ordering is less frequent than other apparel purchasing, repeat business is key for the brand. Creating a good first impression during the design and ordering experience is critical, but the current retail environment presented opportunities to develop a better connection between employees and customers.

Showcasing Service

Custom Ink sought out Chute Gerdeman to redefine the ideal store experience and amplify the brand’s “connected retail” experience. Conducting extensive research, we identified the needs and motivations for various customer types, including the core customer, The Organizer, responsible for ordering custom apparel for groups or organizations.

Findings combined with customer journey mappings led to the development of the Consultation Zone, a key focal of the space. This newly designated area prominently positions customer service at the forefront of the custom design process. Guiding customers from inspiration to design, the staff “Inkers” play a pivotal role. Special considerations were taken to ensure adjacencies, tools, and workstations met their needs. A wall focal designated for the custom “Inkers” lets customers get to know the expert staff before they even get started.

Empowering Creativity

For customers looking for a self-guided, exploratory experience, wall features present curated assortments of the brand’s most popular garments and products, while a digital display allows customers to see the endless aisle of additional products available online.

The stores now not only offer a place to touch and feel the product but allow customers to gain confidence through face-to-face consultation, receive guidance on complicated orders, and assistance in selecting the right products and printing methods. With an optimized store design and scalable format for rollout, Custom Ink plans to open new stores across the country.

“Big thanks again to you & the team for all of the hard work & making it happen!”

– Sara Migner, Store Project Manager, Custom Ink

Design that connects people to the world’s greatest brands.

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501 West Schrock Rd, Suite 201
Westerville, Ohio 43081

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