1. Create the DemandAll successful retailers have at least one item or product that their retail store is famous or stands for. That particular stuff need not bring any profit, but they have one in order to succeed and be remembered. Think about it, currently one cannot make out any variation to make a retail brand unique because such demands are markets not in existence today, as seem to be known. Whenever such a demand is created, competition is rendered irrelevant as the rules of the game are re-defined. The known examples are I-pod and cirque du soleil.In the world of retailing, Walgreens is one example. They are credited to have invented milk shakes and malted milk drinks in the 1930s. This concoction was the outcome of the demand from most of the people during their lunch break looking for a light but energetic or nutritious beverage and in the same period the mixer-grinders were launched. This was a natural serendipity.
What is your innovative invention to create a new market and demand? Even if that is not going to contribute to a great degree to your revenues, you ought to have one if you are keen to build your retail brand for the long haul.
Just like “The Bond – James Bond” is associated with certain images, icons, style statements, gizmos, cars and even rites and rituals, think carefully about the kind of associations that would complement your retail brand and your target audience. Use all of them always and that too upfront. Because you do not have many options to build a distinctly different character and personality to your store brand, think of the Indian film personalities. Each one brings a set of imageries, traits, attributes, values and so on.
Likewise, there is a need to treat your retail brand as a living personality with certain unique characteristics. Cognitive psychology says: “People – shoppers and customers – have a tendency to choose to identify themselves with such personalities to even shop among their desired peer group, too.” After all, majority of shopping is primarily encouraged by the leisure or surplus time one has at his discretion. So, make your retail brand attractive and interesting for your target audience to befriend it.
3. Design Parameters
Great experience is what everybody is seeking or expecting. Enhance specific values that express and represent values – common values to the buyer, which lead to memorable experiences. A smart retail designer should know that what is designed is not the space or interiors but experiences. The retailer and his designer should consciously script the kind of relevant experiences they would like their shoppers to carry with them, if the retail brand needs to stay on top of the mind of its customers. First of all put the customers in their comfort zone, while giving them unexpectedly pleasant surprises or WOWs. You do that and these “WOWs” would translate to the WOM (word-of-mouth) publicity.For example, Giorgio Armani designs are epitome of simplistic minimalism, visiting Las Vegas is a wholesome experience with multitudes of surprise in an otherwise a desert or having the famous “hurricane” cocktail in Pat O’Briens in New Orleans, LA.
4. Peer Group
Embrace change and don’t be a lame. If you want to radically alter the product, market or system, you might as well come up with another brand,besides your current complacent one. That’s what happened to Kodak – the king of film. Suddenly the digital world arose.Dramatic changes usually require a new brand and a new strategy. It is getting off one horse and quickly getting on another. From a marketing and strategy point of view, it is always better to build separate brands for separate businesses. The stronger a brand gets in a particular category, the weaker it gets in other(s).
In the name of “trust,” having a family/parent brand is helpful. But as markets mature and you have more competition, the old-fashioned way of having the same name on everything weakens the brand.
Trump Airlines closed and never considered to get into the business ever, after its pilot project as Donald Trump found that running an airline did not make any commercial sense as an independent business.
6. Be the First
Have a loud and clear answer to: “Will ‘this’ make the buyers’ life improve after transaction?” Your product, service or the experience in your retail environment should delight and/or be useful to the shoppers.Customers, commerce and community go together with a common culture with shared values. A smart retailer would understand this at the outset and create a sense belonging for the community in the store’s respective catchment area. No retailer or business has ever failed with this effort as part of their brand value and competitive strategy.
What makes the convergence between atmosphere and the design is a branded environment filled with places of unexpected differences, just to keep the buyers/customers/guests engaged. This paradox of meeting buyers’ expectations by creating the unexpected is what extraordinary luxe and successful retail brands have done.The future of success will be found when you offer up the “unexpected” in interesting, innovative, stimulating and exciting ways in your “branded” environment – the store.