Physical stores face adverse trading. In today’s retail world, they must be more than just a place to buy stuff. Instead, they should be able to entertain and inspire your customers. So, maybe it’s time to start thinking about your stores as a stage. Thinking about your retail operations in a different way may mean that you can create a real experience which will stick in your customers’ heads. And it may also give you that competitive advantage over the internet giants like Amazon. Join Oliver Banks and discover a different angle on how you can set up your operations.
Listen now to the full episode to discover:
- What that the most central element to making your stores a stage.
- Who is doing a good job of this already.
- What you need to do to ensure that your ideas come to life.
5 elements to make your store a stage
In the episode, I detail 5 elements to help you make your store a stage.
1. The adventure or story
The primary option to start thinking about your store as a stage is to know the adventure or the story that the customer will go on.
Please also note that it’s the customer going on the adventure or story. Not you. Not your brand. And it’s not the customer as the spectator. Instead, you want to put them front and centre of your production where your brand fills in the setting, the scenery, the storyline and the supporting roles.
Examples shared in the podcast include:
Samsung KX, London, UK. Here, customer are drawn into a vision of a future “normal life” and showing the journey as to how you could improve everything, enabled by their range of products.
Adidas LDN, London, UK. You are invited into explore the store and get involved by creating your own designs. For example, you can dance and move to create a personalised T shirt design. Or select the ideal badges to make custom, personalised clothing or shoes. Alternatively, you can use their sensor equipped running machines and analysis to test what trainers would be best for you.
Story at Macy’s, various locations, USA. This is – an evolving stage that invites you into a new adventure every few weeks. This keeps the intrigue going and encourages future visits as well as calls the customer to action before everything changes again.
2. The cast
Whether it’s on the big screen or a local theatre, it’s the cast who can take a story and bring it to life.
If your store is a stage, then it’s your colleagues and staff team who are the cast. All except the central hero, which of course has already been cast as the customer. Your team are the supporting actors and actresses. They add the colour to the story and help guide the hero, your customer, through the adventure.
For example, there are several options for retailers setting their people as the cast:
Currys, by Dixons Carphone, UK. When browsing online, you can connect with the colleagues in store to ask questions and to help guide you through your purchase journey. This is also a good example of using your store as a stage over different channels.
Hero is a supplier to retailers that allows your online customers to engage store associates. If you want to do something similar to Curry’s, then you should check them out.
Apple, photography tutorials, international. In this example, Apple’s staff members help and support customers to take better photos. The customer is well and truly at the centre. Apple associates guide customers them through the process of taking great photos on an iPhone. Then, the team members put the customer up on the pedestal, making them the hero of the lesson, pointing out the successes and celebrating progress.
3. Which channels you are on
Being on the right channels allow you reach a maximum audience (your potential customers). Channels for your store – other than the four walls – are going to be predominantly online. Especially social media. Whether it is a series of live broadcasts or other content, it’s time that you use your store as a media factory to create content for customers to consume. This way, they can get a taste of your brand and will be tempted to come in store for the full experience.
Who’s doing this well?
The Pud Store, UK. Led by Francis Bishop, this childrens’ clothing retailer is small – only 4 stores. But they do an excellent job of creating content and media from their stores. This is highly consistent with their brand and it feels like a natural switching of channels when you visit their store.
Hobbycraft, UK. Hobbycraft do an excellent job of using localised social media to encourage customers into store. They give an insight into what’s going on – almost like a trailer video for their physical retail outlets.
4. The alternatives
Entertainment, like retail, is in a fierce battle with intense competition. One of the key competitors that you must consider is time. Your customers are short on time and you must therefore combat the easiest possible shopping experience. In fact, one of the common shopping “experiences” today is sitting browsing Amazon or other websites whilst watching TV / Netflix / Prime Video.
To combat this, you need to focus on what Amazon can’t do. If you want to find out more about this, then check out episode 16: How Amazon Are Transforming Retail (part 1) and episode 17: (part 2). In these episodes of the Retail Transformation Show podcast, learn from Miya Knights and Natalie Berg about how you can take on Amazon.
5. The happy ending
All good stories have a happy ending. And this must be true too for your store if it is to transform into a stage. Once again, this boils down to understanding your customers’ adventure and their ideal output.
People aren’t shopping with you because they want to buy stuff. They’re shopping with you because they want to buy the outcome that you sell. That could be a feeling or a result which is enabled by the physical product that you sell.
Making your store a stage
You can have all of the brilliant ideas in the world – but if you can’t implement or execute them, then they’re worth nothing. To do this, you must build them into an operating model. This will help make them consistent. High quality. Reliable. If not, then you’re going to get a mixed bag that will ultimately get forgotten about and disappear to nothing.
So, to build this into your operating model, you must consider:
- The processes, procedures and ways of working.
- The tools and systems.
- The training and expected standards.
Plus, you should be able to define who does what, when, where, how and why. With these, you’ll be on your way to developing a detailed and defined operating model.
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