Creating the Most-Talked-About Customer Experience in Australia

How Canon Broke the Rules of Camera Retailing



Canon was on a mission to be known, not for their cameras, but for what you can achieve with them.

At the same time, traditional bricks and mortar retailing was losing relevance in the face of increasing online competition and a new wave of experiential store formats. In the case of camera retailing, the landscape in Australia hadn’t evolved at all. Gear is locked behind glass walls for an experience that offered little opportunity for product exploration, learning or inspiration… and many camera shoppers were walking out of stores with a product they didn’t know how to use to its full potential.

Canon wanted to create a physical retail experience that would solidify their role in helping people achieve more with their cameras.

But looking to current best practice, many supposed consumer electronics ‘experience stores’ had relied too heavily on flashy technologies, not grounded in a genuine consumer need.


Our brief was simple: to create the most-talked-about retail experience in Australia… By breaking all of the rules that inhibit a great photography experience today.


We needed to think beyond the obvious solution and challenge what we expect a great retail experience to look like today… So we built an iterative exploration plan that looked beyond the realm of photography, consumer electronics and even retail itself.


Looking Beyond Our World

From psychologists to architects, museum curators, emerging technology practitioners, bar managers and futurists, we spent over 30 hours in face-to-face interviews with thought leaders and rule breakers from parallel fields...

The result was a series of new paradigms set to shape the future of retail, customer experience, community engagement, creativity and beyond..

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Suspending Judgement

From our earliest ideas, we adopted a prototyping methodology based around three tenets of desirability, feasibility, viability.

Much like a science experiment – our focus was on defining our assumptions, pulling apart distinct hypotheses, bringing them to life with rough prototypes, and testing and evolving them in quick succession.


Real World Testing

We grounded our exploration in the reality of our new environment – conducting each prototyping session within the vacant warehouse where the new centre would soon be built.

The whole room became stimulus for co-creation – allowing us to walk consumers through different floor plans, zones and layouts in real time.

By the end of the process, we had explored seven different organising ideas, and reduced this down to one overarching platform with more than 100 individual concept elements – giving us not just one 'big idea', but clear rules of engagement and concrete parameters for how each component of the user journey should sit together.

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We emerged with a single organising proposition; to put each individual’s personal photography journey at the heart of the experience… and the roadmap for a space that breaks many of the central tenets of technology retailing today.


The Canon Customer Experience Store launched in July 2018.

Our objective was to create the best consumer experience possible. We had no preconceived ideas and deliberately looked to challenge established ways of thinking that become experience barriers,” says Jason Mclean, Director – Consumer Imaging, Canon Australia. “The result is a space that is welcoming to all, provides unrestricted access to our gear and encourages an exploration of photography, videography and print in a way that’s relevant to you as an individual.
— Jason mclean, director - consumer imaging, canon australa

Experience it yourself at 95 Buckhurst St, South Melbourne.