Described as a ‘step change’ for it’s in-store environment and service, WHSmith at London Gatwick South Terminal is a brand-new format that offers an innovative experience to departing passengers at the airport.

Designed by Wanda Creative to serve as the ‘store of the future’, the concept was developed so that it could be adapted to roll out at further airports across the country. 

The aim of the design was to create a clear, clean and comfortable store, drawing customers in from the main concourse and maximising sales while catering to all types of travel customers at the airport. 

Being a large, busy, 4,500 sq ft store with a lot of product density, it was very important to understand customer movement through the store.

Airport travellers are often rushed, which is why a clear, clean design would not only allow for easy access in and out of the store but also enable the customers to see what they wanted most – water and food.

Hamish Baxter, Retail Designer at Wanda Creative, said: “Customers are led along a tiled path past media and impulse products to the payment area and the exit. Some travellers have plenty of time to wait so to facilitate this, the layout also allows for casual browsing of books, magazines and gifts, without impeding the main flow of the walkway created by the two-tone floor. An overall light and airy space that is easy on the eye was key, creating a calm and seamless experience in an otherwise busy airport.

The durability of porcelain is perfect for extremely high traffic areas such as airports

“The Mayenne and Noyers porcelain tiles from the Steam Range were chosen for their neutral colours, refined texture and slip resistant finish that, along with the warm Iguzzini lighting and timber finishes, create an enjoyably pleasant and inviting atmosphere that feels serene and up-to-date. 

“Porcelain was chosen due to its durability, a necessity for the extremely high traffic of this site. With its striking fine speckled tiles, the walkway is a strong visual feature that guides customers through the store. Without distracting from the products, it is the perfect balance between moving the customer flow and encouraging them to browse. It is a brand-new walk-through experience that is an exciting change for WHSmith as a retailer.” 

The Steam range provides a gently, meandering pathway through the store


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