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Barclays bank gets a redesign inspired by apple and the science museum

June 29, 2008

Interesting article in the London Times about Barclays and its approach to branch re-design. It picks out Apple stores, The Science Museum and obviously, Tesco, as being inspirations for the project.

“At the beginning of last year, Ms Oppenheimer poached Helen Dodd, a retail
design expert, from Tesco.


Ms Dodd, who has spent 20 years working out how to attract customers to shops
and keep them there, trooped 250 Barclays customers and staff through the
Northampton warehouse to test the new layout and technology.


Nothing was sacred, not even the good old British queue with the black tape
barriers. The new Manchester branch is experimenting with a ying-yang-shaped
queue, broken up by waist-height pillars housing computer games. The
branch’s space-age information desk is pure Apple store, while, according to
Ms Dodd: “We’re trialling a lot of different queueing methodologies – people
do PhDs on this stuff.”


The childrens’ play area is inspired by the Science Museum. There is no glass
separating tellers from customers, to stop people from raising their voices,
something that Ms Dodd believes makes banking more stressful.


Curves are used to make customers feel “warmer”, while the glass frontage will
make women more inclined to enter. “At the moment, they don’t feel welcomed
into branches,” Ms Dodd said. Concierges, dressed in uniforms by the
designer Jeff Banks, will issue customers with tickets telling them how long
they must wait and even if they would be served more quickly if they went to
another branch.


Getting the right doormat was key – customers like dry feet, so Ms Dodd found
a mat that dried wet soles within four steps. The Manchester branch operates
to the same timetable as other retailers, with late night and weekend
opening.”

Posted by Ed Cotton

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