Last year, at the World Retail Congress, a premiere business event for international CEOs and others in the global retail industry, the chair of the congress declared in his opening speech, “The old retail business model needs to be ripped up, and an all-important focus on the future is key”. He noted that regardless of the fact that online shopping continues to increase, physical brick-and-mortar stores are not redundant, they just need to be relevant.
So, how does one make sure their shop is relevant to the consumer? One keynote speaker, the founder of the Italian food concept Eataly (huge in the U.S.), told audiences that his main focus is localization – he is always sure to make his new sites not just part of a chain but rather something that fits the character of the area in which it is located.
Experts agree that retail customers aren’t just looking for the “same old, same old” but, rather, they are looking for unique shopping experiences that match the vibe of the world in which they live. To them, that is relevance.
This “localisation” takes some creativity but if you know your neighborhood intimately and are familiar with your current (or likely) clientele, you can design a shop that appeals to those who will be spending lots of time shopping with you, no matter what you’re peddling.
This might require a bit of retail customization, something your shop fitting design team can certainly assist you in achieving.
Retail customization means perhaps not choosing standard items for your shop but, rather, asking your shop fitter to design custom pieces that suit the look you’re trying to achieve. It may mean doing a little shopping for interesting display items, unique fixtures, or unusual art or other wall hangings.
If you’re in a trendy urban area, what you choose for your shop will be different than if your shop sat on a street surrounding by stately Victorian homes, for example.
Once you’ve achieved that look, speakers at the Congress noted, you still want to make your shopping experience as seamless as possible. Because retailers are indeed competing with online companies that offer easy shopping and quick service, stores need to offer something akin to that as well.
First of all, your shop should be conveniently located and easy to reach on foot or by automobile. Secondly, once the customer enters, they should be able to navigate easily. They’ll also be looking for features such as in-store WiFi and perhaps an opportunity to “click and collect”, a great way to combine online sales with your brick-and-mortar location. To today’s shopper, this is relevant.
Ask your shop fitter team to help you “localise” your store and request that your designer help you find ways to connect with your local customer. Take a walk around the neighborhood and scope out your clientele. Stop and chat with potential customers to learn what’s important to them and what would entice them to shop at your store. Bring these results to your design team and you’ll be on your way to creating a shopping experience your customers will love.