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THAT: omni-channel lifestyle store

Defining the Customer Experience masterplan for a first of its kind concept store in the heart of Dubai

The challenge

To create a first of its kind lifestyle store, offering a cutting-edge lifestyle experience; a space the size of a department store in one of the biggest malls in Dubai. 

The challenge was to make this store a destination, successfully fusing different services, products, and experiences together in a way that would be cohesive and appealing to all customer personas, and more importantly, deliver an original and authentic experience that would remain relevant for millennial and Gen Z customers. 

The outcomes

Engine Service Design worked as part of a multi-disciplinary team, working with retail, digital and front-line training to deliver a remarkable omni-channel experience. We created an overarching vision, developed the key customer journeys, and developed service, digital and operational concepts to support the design and development teams. THAT won the award for Best Experience Design at the 2022 Customer Centricity World Series.

Client: THAT Duration:

THAT would be an ambitious concept store that would rely on the store offering their target customers something beyond a standardised retail experience. THAT needed to be about inspiring a creative community and bringing the best of fashion and style to Dubai, in an authentic and engaging way, always have something new to offer visitors.

Developing customer archetypes

Despite knowing that the proposition of THAT would be centred on attracting younger-minded customers, it was clear that there needed to be a detailed picture of the different customer attitudes, needs and behaviours and to help bring these customers to life for the other teams working on developing the store, the online experiences and the training of the colleagues working on the front-line. The Engine Service Design team used the existing data, staff interviews and store observations to build a customer behavioural model and set of customer archetypes that would provide a greater understanding of THAT’s target customers, their needs and behaviours and determine the critical proof points for them that would need to be designed into the experience. 

We also helped THAT identify the inter-relationships between the different customer types and how to build a creative community. We helped them make a distinction between the influencers and the influenced to develop more informed engagement strategies.

Converting the brand ambition into the vision for the customer experience 

THAT had a strong idea of what the brand needed to stand for and had linked the merchandising and product strategy to delivering against that ambition. 

Engine Service Design complimented this work by converting that brand positioning and a deeper understanding of their target customers into a vision for the customer experience that would provide multiple ways that a customer could experience the retail experience but also deliver a consistent THAT branded experience. 

The last aspect was to think of the role of THAT not only as an international showcase of great fashion, music, and lifestyle services but how it could also be a platform of showcasing local creative talent and building the local and emerging creative community.

The vision would be a single guide for the retail, digital design and development and front-line teams to focus development around and support them to prioritise and make decisions for the store now and beyond. 

A dynamic omni-channel retail experience

When the store launched, it launched with the MVP of the digital app and website, but the ambition was to build a much more compelling and integrated digital proposition. 

This digital development work would be taken on by MAF’s digital labs, but what they needed was a definition of the digital products and how they would drive the different aspects of the experience, including integrating with existing social platforms. 

Engine Service Design developed several target end-to-end customers journeys to outline how the customer experience could play out for the different types of customers. 

Through this work we developed digital product concepts across the journey and outlined requirements for how this would be executed. As well as digital we outlined how the front-line “Lifestylers” would be equipped to personify the THAT brand and deliver a truly authentic and personalised service.

I am proud and thankful as Majid Al Futtaim just won the Best Experience Design Award for THAT Concept Store’s experience design at the 2022 Customer Centricity World Series!”


“Thanks to all the team members involved, and to Engine who supported us on this project. We’re extremely proud of our THAT “Lifestylers” on the shop floor, making a huge difference, one meaningful interaction at a time with our fantastic customers.”

THAT is definitely a concept like no other, redefining experiential retail and I encourage you to experience it in person at Mall of The Emirates, at City Centre Mirdif, or online through our website and app.”

Have a similar challenge? Get in touch with the Engine Team


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