New Store Concepts Breathe Life Into Established Brands
Updated: Aug 16, 2018
There was a great article earlier this year in Forbes called “Physical Retail isn’t Dead, Boring Retail Is”. According to the author, Steve Dennis, stores that have mediocre customer service, uninspiring products, and tired one-size-fits all marketing are the ones getting crushed. Some traditional retailers have heard this loud and clear. The result is new store concepts that are relevant and inspired.
Among all of these concepts, the following themes were apparent:
All concepts are extremely customer-centric. Decisions were clearly made through a targeted customer lens and these retailers are not trying to be everything to everybody.
There is a concerted effort to connect the store to the brands' digital properties & programs (website, app, loyalty programs) and have a consistent experience.
Stores are embracing the idea of being a community hub for their key customers.
In addition to merchandise, all stores are offering services to compliment the products. These services can drive incremental visits and are hard to replicate online.
The staff are not simply cashiers and sales people. Each concept is staffed by knowledgeable associates who not only understand the products, but use them as well.
Here’s my round up of the best new concepts from established retailers so far in 2018.
In July, Nike unveiled a new store in California, that’s unlike one we’ve seen from them. Nike Live is truly a store designed with the local customer in mind. The assortment was curated using data from all of their websites and apps (Nike Running Club, Nike Training Club, etc). Based on customer behavior in this area, there’s a heavy tilt towards running and training gear. There is full integration with their website. You can log in, select shoes to try on and they will be waiting in a locker that can be accessed with your phone. In addition, they have a full array of services including running shoe consultations, tailoring, bra fittings and curb side pick up. You can even text the location to ask questions or get information.
PetCoach by Petco
Petco unveiled a services-driven store in San Marcos, CA. Unlike a traditional Petco store, which has aisles and aisles of pet supplies, and then some services on the perimeter, this store has flipped the two. Services dominate and include grooming, training, day care, dog walking and full scale vet offerings. Memberships are available and offer discounted pricing on core services. The store is staffed by “Pet Coaches”, who are highly trained specialists in the area of pet care. In addition, customers can use digital tools to book appointments, archive pet records and more.
This summer, Joann Fabric’s announced a new store format that it hopes will refresh the 75-year old brand. The highlight of the store is the “Creator’s Studio”, which is an area of the store that will host in-store events such as classes and demos, offers custom sewing machines and the ability to rent them, as well as concierge type services. The store was designed for the “maker”, and features large touchscreens that shoppers can use to pull up their Pinterest boards. The goal of the store is to create a local hub where customers will hang out, collaborate and craft together.
Time will tell which concepts are winners, but the most important thing is these companies are taking chances and will learn what works and what doesn’t. A lot of the success will be based on execution. Can the employees on the front line deliver the experience designed in a corporate office? Is the experience what customers' were looking for. Looking forward to following along to see what happens.