Redefinition may be too a strong term, but enhancement is too subtle. With its entry into the Florida market, Wawa had introduced a new store design with a range of success and some challenges. Our goal was to focus on improving the experience and to develop a new one that could be implemented in all Wawa stores. Speed-to-go was key to the experience, but we also needed to increase the perception of freshness, and focus on sandwich sales, as well as drive efficiency and engagement through digital. We started with how a customer ordered a sandwich and expanded to the whole store experience. We realized that each Wawa store is an ecosystem and that changing one part of the store will affect most other parts as well.
Wawa began as a dairy farm in Pennsylvania, and in the early days they used the marketing slogan, “fresh from the country,” to communicate the freshness and quality of their products. We chose to focus on the idea of communicating freshness in the experience from the introduction of planting around the building to fresh crates of produce immediately in sight as guests enter the store. Our design was developed through the perspective of the guest entering the store, and making their visit enjoyable and efficient.
Our work encompassed the full store from the overall building form and look, to the signage on the coffee carafes, to the process and screens for ordering sandwiches via a mobile.
The new building architecture consists of a modern base that includes a sleek terracotta rain screen that becomes a colonnade along the front of the building, a louvered wood slat wall of refurbished barn wood, and a new outdoor seating area backed by a glass wall with views into and out of the store. The roof form has a slight bend to the eaves and peak which references the architecture of some dairy farm barns that used to populate the region.
We provided Wawa a playbook for the future that covered all the dimensions of the customer experience for a visit to a Wawa store. The work was well received and they began immediately making adjustments and implementing our thinking. Wawa was still committed to the look of the latest generation store for the current roll-out, but we hope to see our effort inform future evolutions of the Wawa store. Our effort provided a vision for the future and the steps from today to when that future may be fully realized.