With the UK retail industry going through some struggles, traditional bricks and mortar stores have had to up their game; providing customers with more than just a shop to visit.
Realising that people’s buying habits have changed – people are now allocating money that would have previously gone to shops to social media, leisure, travel, eating out, technology, online shopping, and takeaways & delivery services – retailers are now shifting their focus on providing customer experiences rather than just products.
Take Nike for example, they have created an experience driven retail store by providing customers the chance to test out new products in real sport play, all in-store. In their flagship store in Soho they have created a basketball court that records play from different angles so customers can analyse their performance, and a treadmill to record the shopper’s gait during a run, which then enables staff to recommend the perfect pair of running trainers. Customers can also later access all footage recorded of them through their online Nike accounts or Nike app.
Heidi O’Neill, Nike’s President of Global Direct to Consumer, explains: “We’re leading the transformation of sport retail — offering the best of Nike products, services and experiences under one roof. With Nike Soho we can realize the promise of personalized performance… powered by immersive digital trials and in-store experts.”
The plan is to expand this through the rest of its 1,000-location-strong fleet of stores.
To combat falling profits, John Lewis has slowed expansion, cut jobs and closed some Waitrose stores but crucially, they are re-evaluating how they sell to their customers. They’ve adopted an “ultimate try-before-you-buy experience” as a way to boost sales, launching their own apartments that are available for overnight stays and filled with John Lewis furnishings and products from the retailer’s latest home, fashion and technology collections – all available for purchase. They even provide a wardrobe stocked with a range of clothing in the guest’s size.
By going the extra mile, they’re selling John Lewis as a whole lifestyle experience rather than just a store.
Pushing your own products is not the only way to pull more people in your store. Earlier this year it was announced that Next had partnered up with motoring retailer Rockar. The new partnership will enable Next to transform some of their excess space into a Rockar-style, digital-experience car dealership store, providing customers to shop for new clothes and a new car in the same shop. The first collaboration will be at Next’s store at the Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester.
With an increase in online spending, brands are having to work harder to entice people out of their homes. And so by collaborating with other brands, Next, and Rockar, are capitalising on the shoppers’ day out. But it doesn’t stop there, the refurbished store in Manchester also contains a Gino D’Acampo prosecco bar and barbers.
Simon Dixon, founder of Rockar, said: “Our collaboration is very aligned in terms of core values. Next is a true omni-channel business, so it makes sense that they would capitalise on the opportunity to offer something unique to their customers.”
As Mr Flinn at Intu puts it: “Customers can either pop in to do a quick shop or spend a full day with the family.”
Overhauling retail spaces with Hoardfast
We’re seeing a lot of retailers undertaking refurbishment projects to overhaul their existing spaces to incorporate more of a “retail-tainment” feel within their brand. These kind of retail fit outs are projects that our Hoardfast range of internal site hoarding can be extremely useful for.
Our systems give dust control with a clean public face consistent across all sites to keep disruption to a minimum. We have fire rated panel options available for shopping malls, and acoustic screening to keep noise to a minimum. With our internal hoarding, the store can remain open whilst works are being carried out to maximise profits and selling opportunities. Additionally, it’s easy to add graphics to the hoarding, such as company logos or signage, to keep customers in the know about what’s happening – further reducing any disruption.
With the retail landscape changing, and a lot of brands closing down stores, it’s never been a better time to update existing store space. Planning a project? Talk to us at Westgate about our internal hoarding for retail.