Innovation strategy to drive sales with big-box buyers

Design Central created an innovation strategy and new outdoor grill island design for one of China’s largest appliance exporters to help the company leverage its manufacturing expertise and drive retail sales to big-box retailers. The team studied users, materials, trends and the competitive landscape to develop an outdoor grill island with upscale product details and features to demonstrate the fabrication expertise the manufacturer could deliver.

  • Chant USA
  • Consumer
  • Strategy
  • Product Design


Design Central devised an approach for understanding the upscale grill market and sophisticated grill user to build a framework for product development. The team studied materials and finishes, competitive products, new technologies, regulations and outdoor living trends. Interviews with consumers and store audits and evaluation of the information led to the development of three opportunity spaces: traditional, family and entertainment, which were used to drive the competitive and value proposition plan. Design Central used scenarios based on the criteria of innovation, cooking and entertainment to develop the product innovation strategy. These criteria, combined with the opportunity space themes, provided the direction to pursue and resulted in a single design direction for development.

Industrial design

Design Central explored the visual and functional qualities to develop the final grill island system design. The “Family-Entertainment” theme focused on modular configurations in support of a family-centered, entertainer’s lifestyle. To offer variety to the user, and exclusivity to retailers, 3 different layout configurations and over 25 additional features were developed. Elements such as lighted controls, slide-out shelving and a built-in ice and beverage station along with multi-configurable seating and set-up options were designed to create an informed and accessible user experience. Design Central produced a detailed product specification manual to inform manufacturing of the grill island containing features, functions, price points, regulatory concerns, etc., for the manufacturer’s use when presenting the grill island concepts to big-box retail buyers.