Skeleton & Skin®
How to create a store that is always on trend

A sustainable store that is long-lasting and affordable, yet flexible and able to adapt to a concept, season or temporary change in walking route. Something that seems like a conundrum, but is merely a paradox with the help of the Skeleton & Skin® approach developed by SVT. Skeleton & Skin® incorporates these elements so you have a future-proof concept.

“Innovation is ultimately the only source for moving forward”
– Joseph Schumpeter 1883 – 1950

Skeleton & Skin®
The Skeleton & Skin® principle is an adaptive retail design based on three elements customers look for: sustainability, affordability and flexibility. The fixed parts of the store – the so called skeleton – are made as cheap and simply as possible, allowing you to use the furnishings and decor – or skin – in a variety of ways, over and over. As a result, set-up costs are low and variable costs are higher.

In many industries, we see seasonal adjustments, which can now be made quickly. During peak periods, such as Black Friday, the walking route can easily be adjusted. And should data indicate that a product category is doing (not as) well, you can respond with the visual merchandise. You can very easily stay current and optimise traffic and conversion. In short, the lifespan of the store concept is extended, but the look of the store can change constantly while the adaptations are actually minimal.

Unique Skeleton & Skin®-approach

We distinguish two main ways to apply the Skeleton & Skin® method:

1. Continuously adapt the store
A strong skeleton with a variable skin that you can easily adapt to current events, new propositions or customer behaviour. At Intratuin, several major changes took place between 2000 and 2020. Because we accounted for a flexible layer within the skeleton of the design, these changes could easily be implemented. For example, we worked with snap frames so that signing, routing and product presentation (or skin) could be easily adjusted. This way, Intratuin remains on trend by making quick adaptations in its formula, without immediately adjusting the entire store concept.

Dille & Kamille has adaptable furniture and shelves so that the store and product range are continuously on trend. For example, the cabinets along the wall are identical, so you can easily change the product range. The themed tables include a grid ceiling and metal rod from which accessories and signage can be hung. This way VMs can be used to quickly, easily and inexpensively, create a new world.

2. Completely switching concepts
Uniquely surprising are stores that quickly and frequently completely switch themes or concepts. In no time at all, a totally new look can be given to a store. This stimulates the curiosity of shoppers, who wonder, “What do they have in store for me this time?”

A prime example of this is Merci. The Parisian concept store is a large store where you can eat, read, as well as buy clothes and furniture. They completely envelop the entrance area of the store in a theme by changing the walls, floors and ceiling. Every two months, they have a new theme, a combination of experience and new products. One month the focus will be on cotton, linen and washing and the next month it’s like you are walking on the bottom of a swimming pool. This piques shoppers’ curiosity and lures them inside. Over and over again.

Another example of a store that changes themes quickly is Nike. During our store visit in London, we saw how the store transformed in an instant: one day everything was about running, the next morning women’s soccer was the main theme. Canvasses, screens, even the mannequins had been replaced. A completely different skin.

Luxury department store Selfridges transforms “The Corner Shop” into a completely new concept every six weeks. Retailers and brands take over The Corner Shop, the permanent pop-up store that is part of the department store, and experiment with experiences, new products and services. For example, Selfridges draws attention to sustainability with their own concept ‘Worn Again’ where they display various services and then the pop-up store is taken over by Skims, Kim Kardashian’s lingerie brand. A true testing ground for brands and journey of discovery for shoppers.

Skeleton & Skin®: ensuring your store stays on trend
Previously, a store concept was developed where adjustments could only be made in the temporary layer of in-store communication. With Skeleton & Skin®, SVT offers more flexibility, durability and affordability for the store concept, so that your store has a long lifespan and yet continuously presents a different image. An adaptive store with a fixed base (skeleton) and a variable layout and communication layer (skin). With relatively small adjustments, your store will continuously stay on trend. High impact, low effort.

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