Although Rocket Kitchen had a well-established shop on Ponsonby Road, their merger with Ma Cherie, a producer of macarons and other baked treats, naturally suggested a relocation. The popularity and success of Rocket Kitchen’s famous cakes meant that it was beginning to outgrow its smaller Ponsonby site, and as it was clear that its brand had the clout to draw people to a new location, a larger space in Mt Eden was chosen. Of course, merging, moving and upsizing in one go is no mean feat, and it was important to give Rocket Kitchen’s loyal customers a new and enhanced retail experience in return for following the new shop to Mount Eden. This was where Spaceworks entered the picture.

 

Like most fine food retailers, Rocket Kitchen had displayed and sold their products from the counter at their Ponsonby. Although this had clearly worked well enough in their previous, smaller store, utilising the full space in Mount Eden required a different approach altogether. Rather than cramming the whole range of products together behind one pane of glass, the range of Rocket Kitchen and Ma Cherie cakes and treats were divided among different  cabinet displays spread out across the store’s wider floor space. 

 

 

This open layout presents the opportunity for customers to engage with the product range in a way that a single counter just can’t match. Instead of spending time queuing, with a limited view of the cakes and baked goods on offer, customers are able to move around the space and check out the products at their leisure. Anything which grabs their eye can be inspected from four sides, unlike cakes in a cabinet at the counter, where only one side is visible. This convenient and leisurely approach allows time to view each product individually and to make larger purchasing decisions.

 

Spreading the cake displays around new store’s space also shifts the selling dynamic between Rocket Kitchen’s customers and staff. A counter-driven retail environment, while very standard, can often feel faintly confrontational as the customer is forced to approach once ready to make a purchase and stand face to face with a member of staff. The setup also confines staff in a passive role, constraining their ability to sell. Opening things out to multiple cabinets across the space allows the selling process at the new site to take place on more collaborative terms, with buyer and seller standing side by side looking at the cakes and treats together. Rocket Kitchen staff are now able to sell more proactively by moving around the whole shop floor and providing information or assistance to customers still deciding whether to make a purchase. 

 

 

The decision to spread products out across a wider retail space did create one challenge which wasn’t there in the days of the single counter, however. Cakes and macarons, while beautiful and mouthwatering, proved too small to draw the eye from a larger distance. As a result, a slight diversion was taken from the usual approach of making the product stand out above everything else. As part of their rebranding, Rocket Kitchen had updated their colours to a bright and playful pastel combination. It was decided that these attention-grabbing colours would be ideal for drawing in passers by and funneling their attention towards the less easily visible delicacies on offer. To achieve this, the cabinets themselves were chosen to display the brand colours – their layout meant that they were prominently visible through the store’s windows. The lower halves of the cabinets were clad in pastel colours cut into large, angular shapes which are reminiscent of slices of cake. These colours draw people towards the cabinets while the cakes themselves are still too far away to be visible, but as they draw closer, the colours drop to bottom of their sightline, and the cakes and treats themselves capture one’s full attention.

 

In case the colours weren’t enough to draw people in, and the cabinet layout didn’t motivate them to stay, one more drawcard was added to the Mt Eden store – the incorporation of a hospitality space into the retail area itself. This approach is a little-used but highly effective way of enhancing customer retail experience, and while non-food retailers can use it too, the inclusion of a cafe area obviously fitted Rocket Kitchen’s product offering perfectly.

 

 

The coffee machine and counter (yes, there still is one) were situated beside the entrance to the store, with the coffee machine in particular right by the window, as the ‘theatre’ surrounding baristas at work is another effective means of capturing the interest of passers by and drawing them into the store. Once inside, there are dedicated seating areas at the back and along the window, giving people a chance to relax and spend a longer time in the store considering which cakes and treats to buy. Having had the chance to try a slice, who could blame them for deciding to order the whole cake?

 

It’s well worth heading over to Rocket Kitchen’s new Mount Eden store and checking out their mouthwatering range of treats over a cup of coffee. But if you end up leaving with more cake than planned, don’t say we didn’t warn you!