Sound system

Dominance of the digital channel for sales and distribution of music was a fait accompli by the late 1990’s but some large music retail chains still took steps to delay the inevitable. At Virgin Megastore customer retention was brought front and center in an action plan outlined by the executive team. Virgin’s new strategy shifted to focus on two urgent priorities:

  • establish a customer-centric environment and drive in-store conversion rates
  • Align store interiors with a true lifestyle approach

Customer research revealed that simply navigating the cavernous Virgin stores was a challenge for shoppers. Interviews yielded comments like : “There’s so much stuff in the store it’s kind of overwhelming”,  “sometimes I just get tired of looking and give up”  “I feel lost”.

Based on the research, Virgin leadership was in consensus on the need  a for design solution that would provide clarity and cohesiveness to the store as well as elevating the overall quality of experience in the Megastores. The new Virgin imperatives translated into a clear design directive: develop a functional and engaging system for navigating the Virgin environment.

Surpassing these original design requirements, the completed system delivered value and benefits in four key areas.
1) genre ownership
The system allows the store to brand entire
entertainment genres as Virgin’s own.
2) product development
The system creates new opportunities for
development of branded merchandise.
3) marketing assets
The system creates a set of visual resources
readymade for marketing and advertising.
4) navigation
The system facilitates navigation and product location, increasing in-store customer conversions.

To the final point and one of Virgin’s top priorities, the new system for product identification and store navigation was directly attributed with resulting in sales conversion of +4% for Virgin Megastores.


virgin entertainment
virgin vp retail design: anthony deen
design director: john schettino
senior designer: nancy herrmann

  • product identification system
  • wayfinding
  • environmental branding