In the modern marketplace, there is one thing any retailer should continuously try to develop to maintain and improve its business. And it is providing to its customers a unique and engaging experience.
Currently only a small fraction of retailers has developed a distinctive and differentiating in-store concept. Most stores still deliver a static, monotonous, and detached experience. They focus on other areas of their business like cost management, stock selection, staff management, and marketing among others. Additionally, they rely on other means of enticing the consumer like ads, promotions, and sales.
All these areas and each of these tools are certainly important. They need to be improved upon continuously and utilized properly. In fact, in this blog we will explore all these subjects. However, in the modern marketplace they can have a lasting impact and bring actual results only if they are included within the framework of a unique store concept and design that provides a differentiating experience for the customer.
Indeed, the store experience is the aspect of a retailer that is most difficult to replicate even in the long run, as the consumer immediately associates it with your store. That is if that experience is truly unique and different from the one that other stores provide. Low prices, brands' selection, promotions, and sales can all be matched if not improved upon by retailers with bigger budgets.
So how do you design an engaging and unique store experience? You should focus your attention on these key areas:
- Innovative Concept - Setting up just another restaurant or clothing store or jewelry store with the same basic characteristics of what is already out there is a waste of money. You should study your competitors extensively and think of ways to modify and improve their business models. In particular, you should keep your target market in mind. If you are targeting consumers in their 20's, try to incorporate technology. If you are targeting affluent consumers develop a more exclusive and luxurious environment. Be creative and bold.
- Store Design - Your design should reflect your particular concept. The theme should be readily understandable. Therefore, any customer would immediately be thrown in your "world" upon entering the store. If the theme is well developed and attractive, the customer is going to want to buy into it. It is important that the concept and the message that is conveyed with the store design should be one and focused. Ralph Lauren is a fitting example. It has developed a clear store design that reflects their message and appeals to their target market.
- Exceptional Customer Service - Bad customer service can be enough to ruin a customer's experience despite an innovative concept and an appealing store design. Apple and Anthropology know this well. Apple makes sure that its stores are constantly over-staffed to ensure that every customer gets attended in a reasonably short time. Anthropology trains its staff extensively to make sure that they can adequately answer any question and resolve any issue.