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Viru Keskus Recognizes Best Shopping Environments


After a five-year hiatus, Viru Keskus, in collaboration with professional partners, conducted a Shopping Environment Survey. As a result, the title of the best shopping environment in the center was awarded to Kaubamaja Toidumaailm.

Viru Keskus has consistently recognized its best service providers, service points, and shopping environments over the years. However, the best shopping environment title was not awarded in the last five years due to the center’s renovation, which put shops at a disadvantage. With the renovations completed, the newly refurbished stores are ready to welcome visitors. “A customer is a social being who still highly values a sensory experience. Our significant investments with tenants in updating the center and shops have been recognized both locally and internationally, and now we have selected the best shopping environments. It was a very challenging process as there are many excellent choices in Viru Keskus,” said Gertti Kogermann, CEO of Viru Keskus.

Professional partners Trendline Estonia and service designer Mari Arnover and her team helped conduct the shopping environment survey. “The conducted store environment survey differs from service measurements, such as test purchases and customer feedback collection. For the shopping environment survey, we used experienced industry experts with practical and long-term experience in creating top-notch store environments. Therefore, it is an expert assessment of the shopping environment and its impact on both customers and employees. The survey compared one question about the service: how and with what attitude the incoming customer (observer) received. It was interesting to see a clear connection in cross-analyses between a higher level of shopping environment and employees’ emotions and readiness to serve. This shows that the environment is not only for the customer. The employee ‘lives’ in it daily,” said Eero Palm, head of the test purchase and research firm Trendline Analytics.

Service designer Mari Arnover added that the customer experience is the sum of small pieces that need to be worked on every day and which together form the whole experience for the customer during the visit. “I was very pleased to see in the project that Viru Keskus takes this very seriously. I hope that this work continues daily with the same awareness and that the customer experiences a very good customer experience at Viru Keskus. We will measure again in a year,” noted Arnover.

Best Shopping Environments 2023:

1st Place – Kaubamaja Toidumaailm (Concept and layout by Kaubamaja, General interior design by VLS – Ville Lausmäe, interior design by Ruumilabor, VLS, PINK)
2nd Place – Rahva Raamat (concept by UDDU Architects led by Mari Koger-Ots, visual concept by Velvet)
3rd Place – GANT flagship store

Kaubamaja Toidumaailm, renovated in 2021, showed the best results in the survey. Kaubamaja Toidumaailm is a ticket to a culinary journey with stops in every continent – from vibrant Latin America to the tranquil Estonian fishing village. “We tried to base the layout and styling of Toidumaailm on logic so that the store areas would be clearly defined and thus more inviting. In other words, we aimed to create an environment where things are not placed randomly, like tomatoes next to rubber boots, but with clear logic. For example, if previously ready-to-eat food was scattered all over – a bit of salad here, cutlets there – now this area is nicely grouped at the entrance. We considered functionality a lot in the planning,” said Ville Lausmäe, interior architect at VLS Interior Architecture. He added that the renewed Toidumaailm is a unique phenomenon in Estonia, as such resources and thoughtfulness have never been invested in creating a food store solution before.

Rahva Raamat also made it to the top three, where Viru Keskus and the tenant collaborated significantly in terms of content. To increase customer convenience, the store, previously spread over two floors, was moved to a single, third floor by expanding the retail space at the expense of the parking garage. This allowed Rahva Raamat to create a more logical arrangement of areas and a more pleasant environment. Rahva Raamat’s store in Viru Keskus was also chosen as the best bookstore in the world in 2022. The interior design of the Rahva Raamat bookstore and the integrated environment were created by UDDU architects led by Mari Koger-Ots, and the environmental graphics were created by the design office Velvet.

The third place was awarded to the premium brand GANT, for which Viru Center is the newest among the brand’s representatives in Estonia. The store, designed according to GANT’s latest design concept, is one of the first of its kind throughout Europe. After many years of operating on separate premises on Pärnu Road, the choice of the new location in Viru Center was decisive in GANT’s desire to offer more convenience to its customers. First, the store space is large and well-structured, which allows for a representative display of all the brand’s collections. In creating the store space, the primary focus was on making the store visually appealing to passersby and contributing to the overall impression of the center, but in such a way that the store visitor has enough privacy, a pleasant atmosphere, and comfortable and spacious fitting rooms.

Special Awards:

Art Lover’s Special Award – Goldtime
Digital Adaptation Special Award – Euronics
Sustainability Special Award – The Body Shop

Goldtime, which received the Art Lover’s Special Award, stood out mainly for its luxuriously furnished private service salon, which is part of their renovated store and whose walls are adorned with Eduard Wiiralt’s graphic sheets. The store pays a lot of attention to domestic creativity, as the entire Goldtime store is furnished with custom-made furniture from Saaremaa.

Euronics caught attention with its digital adaptations, specifically the introduction of electronic price tags for the first time in Estonia at the Viru Keskus store, which has made the entire customer experience more convenient and faster. The renewed interior of Euronics’ Viru Keskus store, which has 4,500 different technical products and is the largest electronics and technical goods store in downtown Tallinn, was designed by Estonian interior designer Mait Lauri and his team from Ako In. The store’s furniture was produced by OÜ Repston.

The Sustainability Special Award was given to The Body Shop. The store has stood out with its sustainable solutions, offering, among other things, one of the first refill stations for its customers. Additionally, some of the store’s furniture is made from recycled materials, and you can also find unique art that creates an emotional impact, like Moona Saal’s hand-woven carpet.

Congratulations to the winners!

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