In Summary

Major suburban shopping centres and retailers have received a face-lift, after partnering with students and staff from Swinburne University of Technology.

Working on a range of projects, Swinburne has been able to provide detailed research, advice, ideas and design concepts to retailers including Eastland Shopping Centre, Springvale Homemaker Centre and Kmart, improving the shopping experience for Australian consumers.

Through an ongoing partnership with Ringwood’s Eastland, Swinburne’s Visual Merchandising students have played a key role in making Eastland an interesting, welcoming place to shop. They have designed and implemented a number of different displays and exhibitions, complimenting current campaigns going on in the centre.

“Swinburne has been pivotal in helping us out. The students are full of fresh ideas, which has really helped up to make the centre an enjoyable place for people to do their shopping,” Melissa Griffiths, Eastland’s marketing co-ordinator said.

Swinburne Visual Merchandising course leader Justin Larsen, who has headed up the projects with Eastland, said that by partnering with the major outer eastern suburbs shopping centre, both parties were able to benefit.

“For our students, it is obviously a great learning experience. They get to work with real-life client briefs and come up with solutions to them,” Mr Larsen said.

“It’s also great for those involved at Eastland. They get to collaboratively work with us, giving us ideas around what they would like to change or improve, and then we go away and work on the concept development.

“We have worked on a number of displays, which have promoted Eastland, including their 2014 Autumn-Winter campaign, the Animal Art Studio and the Yarn Bomb Park.”

Recently, Swinburne Visual Merchandising and Interior Design students also worked on a project at Springvale Homemaker Centre, which saw a number of vacant spaces converted into bright, inviting areas.

“The Centre looks completely different now,” Mr Larsen said.

“It’s amazing what a few creative minds can do, when they partner with industry.”

Aside from Visual Merchandising displays, Swinburne has also assisted Kmart  to improve their online shopping experience, by conducting research into the online shopping experience.

“The online shopping experience is continuously evolving, and Swinburne Design Factory students have discovered that there are alternative ways for traditional bricks and mortar stores to engage with their shoppers online,” Anita Kocsis, Director of the Swinburne Design Factory said.

“Swinburne isn’t just helping out retailers, we’re partnering with them to create a sustainable economic future for all Australians.”