Retail: An experience to remember

14 Sep 2011|Added Value

Retailers! Bring your brand promise alive in you stores or no one will buy your products…

The “quarter day” in June saw many high street retailers in trouble – Jane Norman, Thorntons, Carpetright and Habitat – signalling a gloomy outlook. But all is not lost if retail brands take action now to stop the high street buzz from being silenced forever.

Retail is no longer about just keeping ‘shop’.  It has become a balance of showcasing your wares in a way that brings the brand character to life – whether in an entertaining, destination format like Hollister, Selfridge’s or Superdry that pulls consumers into your brand world; or consistently delighting them with your excellence of service, like John Lewis; or just simply delivering on your brand promise like Argos; and providing everyone everywhere with the opportunity to buy your products. The ubiquitous point of distribution that is online.

Winning on the high street is about creating a presence and stand out. Give people a reason to cross your threshold and they will. People don’t need to leave home to buy anymore. They need other motivations such as social gathering like a coffee concession, or other stimulation depending on what your consumers are aspiring too. Take the teen brand sensations of Jack Wills, Hollister, A&F and the like. These stores are designed like movie sets or night clubs (do they have to be so dark and so loud?), crammed with teens and tweenies in identikit micro shorts and relaxed check shirts. In doing so these stores have embraced both worlds with equal aplomb – knowing ‘mum’ would rather not shop here whilst her offspring cringe at the thought of her cramping their style – is it coincidence that  these brands have successful, slick websites – perfect for picking up the products without having to penetrate the experience?  

Winning in retail is about getting the online / offline balance right and being sure of whom you are targeting and for what reason. When you know this, dial it up to the max to pull in your punters. Online shopping has become such an important survival tool in the race to win commercially. Give them an opportunity to buy online once they are familiar with the products available in your brand world. With the news that Amazon has overtaken Walmart as the world’s biggest retailer you have to ask yourself one question – where is the online Walmart offer? Let’s face it grocery shopping on line needs to be quick, slick and convenient from purchase to delivery or the experience breaks down. On the flip side, upmarket fashion brand Boden has built a strong brand selling predominantly online. It will be interesting to see whether the news that Waitrose is set to launch a fashion range will drive Boden (or maybe an offshoot) onto the high street after all.

Take a look at our case study on Habitats demise.

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