The Innovators: Kendu is Bringing Dynamic Change to In-Store Displays
Kendu In-Store Visual Solutions has innovation in its DNA. In fact, “Kendu” means “change” in the Basque language, so even the company name itself is a declaration that standing still is not in its nature. David Lopez, managing director, U.S. and Latin America at Kendu, explains, “We are not a company that just develops and sells the same product for the next 20 years, we’re looking to the future all the time. Innovation is in our spirit, it’s in the philosophy of the company.”
Kendu was founded 20 years ago in Spain’s Basque Country by Joseba Egaña, and now has seven offices worldwide. Lopez says, “We started here in Miami in a small office five and a half years ago, and we now have a large factory spanning more than 50,000 sq. ft., as well as sales offices in New York and Chicago. As a group, we also have offices in our headquarters in Spain, another sales office in London, and we opened a new office in Singapore last year. So we are now a worldwide company, offering a worldwide service.”
The company’s forward-thinking outlook starts with Kendu’s founder, and is instilled in every aspect of the business. Lopez continues, “[Egaña] is always searching for new innovation — I’m not sure that he sleeps! He brings that creative and entrepreneurial spirit to the entire company. It’s not just our products; we also innovate when it comes to the organizational methodology in the company. For example, instead of teams, we now work in ‘squads’, and every squad is made up of people from different departments. We are innovating in many ways all the time.”
Flowbox, Kendu’s animated LED lightbox solution, is certainly shaking up the in-store visual display space. A dynamic alternative to traditional lightboxes and digital signage, Flowbox combines Kendu’s tension fabric system with LED lights to create a unique animated display lightbox. Available in a range of sizes, Flowbox combines high quality printed textiles produced through a partnership with Durst, user-friendly assembly with components, and LED lights that bring the graphics to life for an eye-catching retail display that can be updated and adapted at the drop of a hat. As well as being visually impressive, it offers the employees of the stores themselves something invaluable — simplicity.
“It’s so easy,” Lopez notes. “You don’t need any tools or a technician to install the product. You can receive Flowbox in a flatpack, and anyone from the store can assemble it; it just clicks into place. We wanted something that was plug and play — you don’t need the Internet, you don’t need any connection, so you’re not going to see any blue screens or error messages.”
Flowbox can be connected to the Internet if desired, but it is not a pre-requisite; an SD card is all that’s required to bring the animation to life. For such an uncomplicated system, the result certainly induces a “wow” effect, providing eye-catching creative graphics and animation that not only come without the complexities associated with digital signage, but also without the cost.
Another element that sets Kendu apart is the 360-degree service it delivers. Not content with just creating the products themselves, the company can take care of design, printing and production, and campaign management. Lopez explains, “Almost everything we sell is produced in-house. We do work with third parties, such as Samsung and Intel, but 90% of what Kendu sells is done in-house, and that is one of our main strengths.” Kendu has created and executed campaigns for the likes of Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Sephora, Uniqlo, and Topshop, helping these major brands deliver high impact displays while overcoming common challenges, such as the need to maximize space, adjust displays swiftly, and grab attention without the use of a digital screen.
With the pandemic continuing to wreak havoc on the retail sector, this kind of end-to-end service is extremely beneficial, as brands and stores get even more creative in order to meet demand, attract attention, and deliver an engaging experience. Kendu helps businesses achieve this with their in-house Experience Design department that works with clients to conceptualize and design consumer-oriented experiences and solutions. Lopez explains, “Every day, we are seeing more and more requests for this. This situation is difficult for everyone, because the physical connection with the retailer and the client is not happening in the same way, so you have to enhance the in-store experience to attract customers.”
As Kendu continues to innovate, Lopez declares that it’s the Kendu workforce that drives its evolution and progression. He concludes, “The main value of the company is the people; they are the most valuable thing that Kendu has. Our sense of humor, our solidarity — to work with people with this spirit is what brings spirit to the company itself.” Whatever change Kendu brings to market next, it is sure to brighten up the visual solutions space.
Karis Copp is a U.K.-based journalist and communications specialist. With a background as a writer and editor in the print industry, she writes about print and technology news and trends, reports on industry events, and works with businesses to help them tell their stories and connect with their customers. Follow her on Twitter @KarisCoppMedia.