Intriguing retail ideas that improve the customer experience and enhance sales
Today’s world is exciting and fast-paced, and the retail industry is striving to reflect this more and more. These days, customers are utterly repelled by the generic, the expected, and the mundane, so businesses across the board need to be inventive if they’re going to one-up their competition.
However, one of the ways retail businesses are doing this is by introducing innovative store concepts. For example, Belstaff recently opened new stores in Munich and Spitalfields, so there’s clearly something in this. But what are these concepts, and what do they involve?
Consequently, here’s how innovative store concepts are changing the retail industry for the better.
‘Not a shop’
Concept stores essentially redefine what today’s shops are typically capable of. This begins by removing the “shop” kind of aesthetic; rows and rows of uninspired products, bland white walls, ceilings and floors, generic check out tills, basic staff uniforms, etc. The idea is to instead merge what shops can be with more interesting and engaging environments and aims.
For example, the STORY concept store in New York City defines itself as an ‘ever changing retail concept’ that changes its entire look every month or two in accordance to a theme or idea, all made in collaboration with designer partners and brands. The whole idea been dubbed as ‘experimental retail’, whereby customers walk into a company’s premises and are immediately swept away into an entirely different world. It immerses them in something unique, and when that happens, customers are impressed and perhaps inclined to purchase more.
Merging of shops
Products are still on display in these stores, but they’re more carefully selected by the businesses. They’ll pertain to a certain theme or lifestyle choice, or perhaps they’ll focus on unique and quirky factors whereby the customer discovers something they’ve never seen before. Ultimately, everyone who gathers here will have something in common!
Additionally, concept stores rarely every specialize in one thing. For instance, Showfields in New York City has four floors worth of varying goods, combining the sales of art, grooming and beauty products across four floors. There’s also a featured coffee shop, and even a slide from the third floor that winds its way down to the second, free for customer use!
There’s no denying it now; shopping as we currently know it is tedious and boring. It’s more often an obligation for many than a genuinely fun or much-anticipated pursuit. This factor has certainly played its part in causing the rise of online shopping and the death of the high street nationwide. Therefore, customers need to be reengaged on the street if it’s going to survive.
Therefore, concept stores also try to emphasize a community spirit in everything they do – something which isn’t really achieved when shopping online. Concept stores will furnish their premises in such a way that seating areas will be included, and they’ll also host talks and events that might take place on the premises. For example, Belstaff’s East London concept store hosted a three-day event where customers could get their jackets personalized and/or repaired. It all adds some spontaneity to what can so easily become mind-numbing routine.
Ultimately, concept stores are striving for two things; an overhaul of the retail experience, and fresh originality! In time, they could well take off and become part of mainstream retail, but for now they’re a quirky niche that more and more people are clocking onto. In time, they will undoubtedly go from strength to strength… and perhaps even resurrect the high street.
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