Reconstructed Concept Creation to Become a Store Loved by People in Hiroshima, “Playable JINS.”

PROJECT2020.11.22

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The JINS Hiroshima Hondori store opened in 2013 as a large store boasting one of the largest lot sizes in western Japan. It has been renewed drastically to be a more local-based store in December 2019. Masafumi Shimatani and Sumire Shimatani from Hankura Design, both were born in Hiroshima, designed this store. Inside the store with the image of “The Seto Inland Sea” can be utilized as a communication place where local people can freely swing by and spend their time slowly, and of course do some shopping too. One year passed from the renewal; we asked a store development manager and a store manager to discuss their feelings toward the renewal.

Not just its design, but I wanted to be involved in a store
even after the store renewal.

Akimoto
Store Sales Department, Store Development Group,
JINS JP (Japan Division)

I have been involved in many store developments and designs so far as a store development manager.
In the past, my tasks were until a store had been completed after designing it, and the store staff would take over the remaining work. But I wanted to design a store foreseeing a state after the store opening and get involved in the store creation more. Therefore, as for the Hiroshima Hondori store renewal, I started to reconstruct the store as the role of a flagship store and its store concept, beyond the design category. I discussed with an architecture and store staff many times how we could create a store that is loved by locals and rooted in this community, especially focusing on not being self-centered.
The store we aimed to is the more local-based “Playable JINS.”
Through the purchase data, we found that many customers from Tokyo and other prefectures visit the JINS Hiroshima Hondori store. Assuming some customers are on a business trip or back to the hometown, we put effort into interior decorations as its concept of Hiroshima-style. On the first floor, the fixtures are dotted at different heights and angles to resemble the Seto Inland Sea islands, which produces various expressions depending on the angle of view. I think we could create an unprecedented place where kids and seniors would love to come to play freely even though they don’t have any intentions to buy glasses by expressing Hiroshima-style and JINS-style in interior decorations.

Staying considerate of the feelings of local customers
and making good use of their voices for the store.

Hirano
Store Director of JINS Hiroshima Hondori,
JINS JP (Japan Division)

The JINS Hiroshima Hondori store has opened as the first roadside store in the central area of Hiroshima city, only 10 minutes’ walk from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I still remember the day I was appointed as a store manager because I’d never even experienced to work a roadside, two-storied and large store, and of course, I was so excited about it.
The age range of the customers is quite wide. Still, it has one characteristic, and that is business people and students occupy a large proportion. Customers from Tokyo often come to visit our store on a business trip or to go back to the hometown, so I am trying to create a store with a cozy and Hiroshima-style atmosphere which may lead customers to think, “Oh, I want to buy my glasses at the JINS Hiroshima Hondori store.”
Our store has the concept of “Playable JINS, a wonderful way to pass the time.” Especially the second floor is a cozy space where customers often praise “What a relaxing space to spend my waiting time.” From now on, we will make good use of each customer’s voice to create our store better to let customers think, “JINS is a fun place after all!”

Look back a year from the drastic renewal.

―Truly elaborated how we can put JINS-style into the Hiroshima-style design. (Akimoto)

Hirano: I think this store renewal has brought a very comfortable space for both customers and store staff.
Before the renewal, customers sometimes complained to us because the entrance had a full view of the store, which made them uncomfortable. But now, customers are moderately hidden by fixtures that have been changed its heights, so they can freely try on glasses at ease, which made them stay longer compared to our former store. We can also watch over customers with a proper distance while knowing the customers’ location. The flow line of the staff was designed to move smoothly so that we can work smoothly.

Akimoto: From my point of view as a store development manager, I’m so happy to hear that from the staff who actually works there!
This JINS Hiroshima Hondori store has a disadvantage of its long and narrow store size, like an eel’s nest, which made customers hesitate to go into the back of the store. Therefore, in this renewal, we dotted fixtures at different heights and angles so that customers would be willing to go into the store naturally.
We were able to have many meetings with staff and architects to discuss how we could make this store more locally rooted and comfortable to work at. In that sense, this is a very special store.

―As I understood the reason for this renewal and what a flagship store should be,
I became more attached to the store, and my customer service changed. (Hirano)

Hirano: Akimoto explained to us firmly the reason and background of this renewal and how the store should be loved by locals. Store staff members also proactively explain to customers the concept of this store and its interior design, which is sometimes used to open a conversation. The more we understand the store, the more we become attached to the store, so we can confidently convey to customers the goodness of our store.

Akimoto: I believe the JINS Hiroshima Hondori store has a role as a flagship store in a suburban city.
The concept of “Playable JINS, a wonderful way to pass the time” was born when I thought about the role of a flagship store in a suburban city. Chairs on the second floor are made by Maruni Wood Industry Inc. in Hiroshima with their outstanding techniques! When I sat down on it, my body perfectly fit with a comfortable feeling, which made me think to buy for my house! lol
I would like everyone to experience this comfort. I would be so happy if this place becomes a place for relaxation and refreshment for locals.
The most difficult part of this design process, however, was how to incorporate JINS-style into Hiroshima-style. While I wanted customers to feel that “JINS is always staying considerate of feelings of locals” I also wanted them to feel that “JINS is doing fun things after all. This uniqueness is so JINS.” When it comes to JINS-style, that is “Create New Standard.” Therefore, at our renewal event, I asked a big favor to install “Megane ON Megane,” which was only available at the Shibuya PARCO store at the time, for customers in Hiroshima to experience it.

COVID-19 and Driving Digitization—What should a physical store be?

―Since I work at a physical store, I would like to provide customers
with surprising purchase experiences by embodying our JINS brand. (Hirano)

Hirano: I assume the things only available in a physical store are “perception” and “experience.” Customer services at physical stores are quite important, especially for kids and seniors who are the first to come to a JINS store. Since I work at a physical store, I would like to provide customers with surprising purchase experiences by embodying our JINS brand and let customers experience how good JINS glasses are, such as a comfortable fit and visual performance.
When I was a newcomer, my store manager told me, “Our job is called ‘half medical and half business,’ which means focusing on business and taking care of customers’ problems. So, our true relationship with customers will start after we sold glasses.” Certainly, an eye test and after-purchase maintenances are only available at a physical store. We should firmly understand what can be provided only at a physical store and in-person customer services. I think it’s important to pick up each customer’s voice and make a unique proposal to each customer.

―The goal is the same for both online and offline stores.
Taking advantage of each other’s benefits and referring customers mutually. (Akimoto)

Akimoto: I don’t think offline stores will be declined by driving digitization too.
I take an online store as one of the new choices for customers to find their favorite glasses, so the goal is the same for both online and offline stores.
By driving digitization, customers can virtually try on glasses through an online store and ask a question via a webchat. These technologies made it possible to make online purchases more safe compared to before the pandemic. However, an online store tends to be one-sided. There are still many good points and required roles that are unique to offline stores.
The goal is to make JINS always accessible to customers easily. Having offline stores near customers is important, and accessibility to the online shop is also important. In the future, it’s delightful if we can deliver more attractive points of JINS to customers by making online and offline stores’ cohesion stronger than ever.
I’m a store development manager for physical stores, so I will continue to strive to create stores that are as accessible as the digital one!

My future goal, My future figure

―Change the store with all members by creating my own actions
while thinking about what to do for customers. (Hirano)

Hirano: A year passed from the store renewal. I think store creators have positively changed their motivation.
In reality, we feel every day that our voices had been reflected in this store creation from the design stage. That’s why we have a high sense of satisfaction and can be proud of our store.
But, even if the creators’ consciousness changes, nothing will change unless action is taken. Creating action by one’s own self while thinking about what to do for customers is important. I always convey to creators that “Let’s create fun and happy feelings for customers through our action and languages by focusing on that we are standing on the front line for creating JINS brand.”
A goal as a store director is to gain more JINS fans. By appealing our store and products’ attractiveness, and if customers feel our enthusiasm, we can gain fans. Therefore, firstly I would like to work as a store director with a lot of fun and develop a circumstance for creators to work with fun. Plus, not just satisfied with the status quo, I want to change our store with every creator to deliver more people for “Create New Standard.”

―Everything includes anguish, and effort is “self-investment.”
Keeping on creating a “new aspect” while cherishing my inspiration. (Akimoto)

Akimoto: Now, I’m working on many new big projects, and that almost makes me drown. Still, simultaneously, I’m so appreciative of my current situation because I can try new challenges. And my goal is to finish all projects without any problems.
Sometimes, I feel really, I have a demanding job; however, I love the phrase “making an earnest effort is self-investment” that our CEO wrote in his blog. I take my anguish and unflagging effort that I’m feeling right now as self-investment and would like to go forward by absorbing various things from many people.
I take the word “Create New Standard” the vision of JINS, as an “inspiration,” but from a different point of view, it could have a meaning of a “new aspect” also. I am willing to try new challenges more to be able to always deliver a “new aspect” to customers while cherishing my inspiration.

Store information

JINS Hiroshima Hondori
Address:9-24, Hondori, Naka ward, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima MAP >
TEL:082-247-0633
Opening Hours:11:00~20:00(Hours are subject to change)
How to get there:4 minutes walk from Hiroshima Electric Railway (tram) Hondori Station ※No parking lot.

Click here for details >

※The contents of this article are the information on services and initiatives provided in Japan.

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