The way the retail industry has evolved means it is not enough to just provide a product, anymore. Anyone can buy any product at any time. I just bought two books and a blender between typing the previous sentence and this one – without leaving my chair.
Retail locations need to become destinations, need to deliver experiences or they risk becoming obsolete.
One way retail is evolving is by making brick-and-mortar locations a representation of the brand’s story.
Story is important; it’s baked into our heritage. Everybody loves a good story, but what’s interesting is that stories are best when they are experienced.
For retailers, this means that physical locations must find a way to represent their brand’s story –including everything from the store’s layout to how product is merchandised. Yes, even fixtures are becoming less about the merchandise they display and more about what that display says about the brand.
For example, the brand Shinola recently opened a store in Los Angeles’ Arts District. The store includes a café and tattoo parlor. That alone speaks loudly about Shinola’s brand, but the store includes subtle nods to its story, as well. In fact, the interior of the building zigged when you might have expected it to zag, by conveying uptown elegance as opposed to urban funkiness. In addition, Shinola encourages visitors to engage with its products by displaying them in an open and accessible manner.
In Manhattan there’s a story that embodies storytelling so much that it is named Story. Story is entirely dedicated to creating an experience for the consumer. Everything from the merchandise, which completely changes every six to eight weeks, to the in-store events, which include product demos, hands-on workshops, yoga classes, and movie screenings, is designed to increase the customer’s experience and community engagement.
Westfield, London features a store telling an altogether different story. The Mamas & Papas is dedicated to soon-to-be and new parents. The store smells of baby powder and features calming music as you walk in. The layout is open, products are thoughtfully displayed, and there are even practice locations (such as setting up a baby seat) throughout the store. The whole idea is to take some of the stress (because taking all would be impossible) out of new parenthood.
Retailers only have a few seconds to grab and engage consumers. Letting them visually and physically connect with your brand’s story is essential. This level of storytelling will not only tempt customers through the door, it will encourage them to wander through the store to get to know your story even better. The more thought you put into your layout, the better your visual storytelling will be.
Are you converting your retail outlet to better tell the story of your brand? Contact The Trade Group a call at 800-343-2005 to see how we can transform your space into your brand’s story.