Galeries Lafayette
- Reinventing retail experience -
Project while intern
at Unistudio, Lille
2018 - 2019
Galeries Lafayette
I had the chance during my internship at Unistudio to work on a large-scale project for the Galeries Lafayette, a premium French retail store. It wanted to fundamentally reinvent customer experience, to offer an innovative and emotional way of shopping in their new store located at 60 Avenue des Champs Élysées. 

The project of the smart hanger is a mix between a traditional item and a digital assistant. Clients will be able to verify sizes, availability, price and having selected one or several clothing items while browsing, it will be directly delivered to the fitting room. These tasks being handled by the hanger, sales assistant will become personal stylists, being in charge of advising and counselling customers. 

I had the opportunity to work on several steps of the project and see it evolve, from early workshops where the boundaries still had to be explored until the validation of a precise concept by the Galeries Lafayette team. The project has been unveiled with the official opening of the store end of March 2019. 
Unique place, unique experience
Galeries Lafayette has been planning on opening a new store on the Champs Élysées in Paris. The expectations are high as this new store is intended to offer customers an innovative shopping experience. It will bring a brand new dimension to the Galeries Lafayette retail network, acting as a one-of-a-kind venue, somewhere between a lifestyle concept store and an evolving event space.
Understanding the stakes
Through various focus groups and several workshops with the Galeries Lafayette team, we spent some time clarifying the boundaries of the project. The main aim was to find ways of improving the client's experience, while creating a special connection between sales assistants and customers. As a consequence, the smart hanger will become part of the shopping experience by providing useful information. This will also allow the sales assistants total on the role of personal stylists and spend more time counselling clients.
Reinventing the Hanger
The hanger is a simple object known to everyone. Working on this classical item was perhaps not the easiest of tasks. However, hundreds of ideas were gathered and sketched. After a while, all of these were narrowed down to just 15 "visions" of how we envisioned the smart hanger, each of them providing a different experience. We presented them to the Galeries Lafayette team in order to discuss and collect valuable feedback.
Hundreds of ideas, 15 Visions, 3 Concepts, 1 Hanger
The 15 visions were finally reworked with a much more pragmatic approach taking into account all of the constraints and reduced to three final concepts conveying different messages. The smart hanger interface and user experience was also clarified. After presenting these concepts to the client's team in charge of the project, we received the Go for developing their choice of the hanger.
Design for manufacturing
Components were sourced, subcontractor contacted and some adjustments had to be made in order for this concept to become manufacturable. The interface was developed based on graphical messages, easily understandable by everyone regardless of their native language. The R&D and electronics design were carried out by Unistudio's partners. Although I did not personally work on this part of the project, I find it interesting to share because of how satisfying it is to see a concept finally becoming reality. 
Come and try it for yourself
The new Galeries Lafayette store has been unveiled on the 28th of March 2019. The smart hangers were made in time for this special occasion. If you happen to be in the area, do not miss out the chance to explore the store and to try this experience for yourself.
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All work © Philippe Garaude 2022