It’s sad, but true: shops are gradually becoming a free fitting room for e-commerce, which can afford a much wider assortment and lower prices. What should traditional retailers do in this situation? Western companies answered this question with the help of merchandising. They seek and find ways to emotionally engage the buyer in the buying process, surrounding him with a very attractive, but at the same time real, environment. Angela Ramsey, an analyst at WGSN trend agency, and Daria Garnitskaya, head of sales, told the Shoes Report magazine how they do it.
When purchasing power falls, and the lion's share of budgets is invested in the development of online commerce, even the largest retailers have a narrower room for change. A good solution in this case is the design of the retail space, which instantly acts on the buyer and does not cost the company so much. The main thing here is to find the right key to the heart of the consumer, which will not leave indifferent even a person who has accidentally entered the store and, possibly, will force him to make a purchase. However, for the first time, you can do without impulse acquisition, because it is more important that the person just wants to return. And this is already a lot.
"So that I live like this!"
Several particularly interesting trends have emerged in the way the largest players in the fashion business are decorating their stores. Perhaps the most important of them is the design of the store in such a way that the buyer has the thought “I want to live like this!”. The concept is simple and original: by the efforts of the designers, the retail space is transformed into a semblance of a city apartment or a country house, the brand's collections harmoniously fit into the cozy interior of which. Real furniture, cute knick-knacks and accessories, which, by the way, can be bought right there (cross-selling in this concept is especially effective), create a very attractive image of the brand, as they touch the quick - for the desire of any person to live beautifully and comfortably. Even if the shopper ends up buying nothing but a pair of shoes, they will spend much more time in the store than they would spend in a soulless retail space.
The concept "I want this life" is ideal for retailers offering not only clothes or shoes, but also home and leisure accessories and beauty products. Well, or for those who are ready to start trading related goods in order to survive: as the WGSN agency notes, such an expansion is also a kind of trend among large retail players. In addition, the concept "so I live!" It is often used by companies during pop-up promotions, when the brand creates a temporary store - for example, Tommy Hilfiger installed a real house in different cities of the world during 2011, the interior of which served as a place for the presentation of the collection. Topshop used the same method, setting up a boat station on one of the British beaches, and the H&M brand, which during the London Olympics chose a gym with rings and goats to demonstrate its sports line.
Retailers with fewer opportunities than the declared market leaders can take from the concept "I want this life" the most inexpensive and the best: the sensual engagement of the buyer, which can be provided even by separate emotional components. For example, objects of Soviet everyday life and things from our childhood, or, conversely, the attributes of "beautiful life" in the case of a brand representing premium shoes.
More than a mass market
Every year the competition for the buyer is becoming more intense, so retailers are trying hard to stand out from their peers. And according to the observations of WGSN specialists, they use several methods for this. One of them - "Luxury mimicry": Previously, it was unprofitable for stores from the mass market segment to pretend to be something more in status, but now they are trying to do everything to add value to the purchase. For example, the Zara brand opened a store on fashionable Fifth Avenue in New York, styling it just like a boutique - with small rooms, a huge number of mannequins and sofas for relaxing with a cup of coffee. The Canadian brand Joe Fresh behaved in a similar way, paving the store's floors with marble, creating an increased space between the trade equipment and providing a display of goods in color. According to these retailers, the surroundings of a luxury boutique add value to a purchase in the eyes of a consumer who values being treated as an important person.
Another way to emphasize your difference from other brands is in tune with the advertising slogan. "and let the whole world wait". The essence of this method is to slow the buyer in his movement around the store, forcing him to look at the goods longer and spend more time in the retail space. For this, the Nike Salvations store in Malibu uses a creative table on which a customer can create their own t-shirt design using the virtual panel. The Max Mara store, located in the very vibrant city of Hong Kong, has created relaxation areas to slow down, and the store itself is meditatively decorated with reeds with video panels hiding behind it all over the wall. All this is designed to relax the buyer and allow him to relax in the store, imbued with a charge of positive and friendliness towards the brand. Positive emotions, as you know, are expensive, so the brands that cause them have added value.
Tomorrow here and now
Why put yourself on the other side of the barricades from information technology when it can be used beautifully and effectively in a traditional store? Some brands decided so and equipped their retail spaces with virtual panels, Wi-Fi and other gadgets. For example, the small House of Fraser store in Aberdeen is devoid of cash registers, but is complemented by smart screens, tablets and caring staff - the perfect combination for shopping online, trying on an item right there, offline. And one of the Marks & Spencer stores, located in a town near Liverpool, is equipped with free Wi-Fi and 12 electronic screens that allow the buyer to see everything that is in the store's warehouse and place an order without queuing at the checkout counters. The same trend, but on a large scale, is embodied in the Burberry flagship store in London: the screens and video panels in it are so large that it takes your breath away when the show is broadcast or the product is displayed. However, it is not at all necessary to equip a trading floor with appliances: in a cafe at the Barney's clothing store in New York, virtual screens are inserted only into the tabletop, and customers continue to study the goods, even leaving the trading floor.
This trend of technologicalization of traditional stores has several features. Firstly, it is suitable even for small shops, the size of which at first makes one doubt the payback of all these bells and whistles. The thing is that in this way the area is used more efficiently, which means that the turnover can be higher. Secondly, the more harmoniously computers are integrated into the trade, the better the effect: the buyer appreciates the idea for its convenience, and not for demonstrating power, so the combination of technology and retail should be as harmonious as possible.
Original trade equipment
Finally, another interesting trend noticed by WGSN specialists in the merchandising of large retailers is original trade equipment. Moreover, "original" is understood not as an ordinary table or shelf, created to order by the company and this supposedly is very different from the rest, but really unusual designs for the presentation of goods. A good example is the Isabel Marant store in New York, in the middle of which there is a cylindrical structure made of blocks of wood, inside which goods are arranged on shelves and boxes. Entering this object, the buyer is literally enveloped in emotion: the smell of fresh wood, a natural color pleasing to the eye and skirts and blouses contrasting against this background - they will want to return for such an experience. Another example is the flagship store of the Swedish brand Monki in London, whose interior resembles an amusement park. The central composition is created by a suspended module, where T-shirts and sweaters hang from the ceiling like a swing, and a vertical three-tiered table complements the resemblance to a carousel. This commercial equipment definitely creates a vivid emotion for the buyer, and it is simply impossible not to approach the product on such shelves. Thus, the essence of the trend is to give the trade equipment a symbolic and decorative meaning, drawing the attention of the buyer first to it, and then, accordingly, to the goods laid out on it.
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