There is a lot of emphasis on brick-and-mortar stores getting in tune with changes, and steps to help them better serve a changing retail environment. But what about the other way around?
Going from a small shop or online-only to a larger physical store can be a tricky move. However, it is an opportunity to build a strong foundation from the start; instead of renovating an old house, you can build new and have the ability to include all the great things you (may) need.
By 2020, 80% of U.S. retail sales will still occur in brick-and-mortar stores. — McKinsey & Co., The Future Of Retail: How To Make Your Bricks Click
So what are the options? When beginning on this journey it is important to know your goals and intentions. Do you want a stronger brand through people? Higher sales both online and in-store? Ability to test new products? All of the above!?
Considering a lock and key? Here are some options:I. Flagship Store
These stores represent a huge investment in money, time and human resources. But oh my, when done properly, it can convey the brand story a company is going for in a very impactful way – It can help sell the solution, not the product. These have also been used to properly shift the mindset of consumers when thinking of a brand or company.
"We think of this as our largest product." - Apple's senior VP of retail Angela Ahrendts on the announcement of their new flagship stores path.
A flagship store is a powerful medium that has the potential to have a serious positive impact on what consumers think when associating feelings or emotions to a company and its products. This powerful tool can be a double-edged sword.
II. Pop-Up Store
Pop-up stores are a great way to test markets for permanent locations, feedback, and general demand for interaction. They deliver impact for brand and products, without laying down potentially expensive roots. Lululemon and Indochino are just a couple of retailers who have done this successfully.
But you must understand the limitations and potential issues that come with these quickly planned solutions. This includes:
Staffing – do they have the right knowledge and training to deliver the lasting experience you want out of each interaction? This part should not be rushed, because it can have a lasting effect on your consumer and brand – both positive and negative.
Seamless experience – what technology is being used to maximize the benefit of the pop-up store? Such as a cloud-based point-of-sale solution, or tablets and kiosks for sales reps to quickly showcase extra styles, stock, etc. among the large crowds.
“I'm going lean up against you, you just lean right back against me. This way, we don't have to sleep with our heads in the mud.” – Bubba in Forest Gump
This can be a lucrative and mutually symbiotic relationship that helps two businesses reduce costs, and benefit from dual traffic and marketing.
A good local example is a coffee shop that leads to a higher end home and bath store. So why is this a good match? They do not compete with even remotely similar products or services, but do not clash. They attract the same general audience – couples or individuals looking for new home additions may want to have coffee or food while shopping; inversely they begin to think of renovations or new items for home and bath after visiting the coffee shop. They do not compete but can benefit one another.
Best practices include thinking of what technologies to incorporate together or not all. For example, are there options for cross-selling? If so, how will that work? These can be determined by a partnership and technologies is solidified.
Download our whitepaper titled,“5 options that maximize the ROI of opening a physical space.” to see more options, examples, and best practices for opening a physical location.