This is the first installment in our Becoming A Destination Store series.
Why should consumers come to your store instead of a competitor’s? The holy grail of retail is to be a destination store. But if you are not willing to compete solely on price, how else can you get customers to travel out of their way to shop at your store? The key to becoming a destination is to focus on one point of true differentiation and work to over deliver on that promise. Here are some traits of retail destination stores.
Make The Shopping Experience Fun
As a pioneer in furniture retail, IKEA succeeds with its brand promise to offer contemporary design at affordable prices. There is no shortage of stories of people travelling hours to get to an IKEA store. IKEA provides an enjoyable, inspiring shopping experience with its curated living space designs. Here at Retail Category Consultants, we talk often about retailers needing to get customers to do what retailers want, and IKEA achieves this by mapping out the shopper’s route through the store so that they see every piece of merchandise, which maximizes impulse and upsell opportunities. Shoppers don’t even notice it because the shopping experience is fun, just like the quirky IKEA brand.
Stand Out With Layout And Fixtures
Drugstores can almost be considered a commodity retailer: there isn’t really anything you can find in one chain that you can’t find in another. In Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart wanted to capitalize on the margin opportunities with their cosmetics business. But to really stand out and give customers a reason to shop at their stores instead of their competitors’, they needed luxury brands that could be found only in department stores. Without the right retail environment, layout and fixtures, luxury brands would have no interest in playing ball.
The Beauty Boutique concept was borne out of this knowledge: a separate boutique within the store that has a completely different look and feel to properly showcase luxury beauty brands, but without the intimidating, high-pressure environment of a department store. Even staff uniforms, bags, seasonal decor and gift cards were uniquely branded to integrate with the higher end shopping experience. Beauty Boutique was a success in positioning Shoppers Drug Mart as a leader in cosmetics. Through the luxury brands they were able to secure, they had a unique positioning versus other drugstore competitors, while the added advantage of hundreds of locations across the country and unbiased, non-commissioned beauty experts gave them an edge over department stores.
Join The Club
Through membership fees, Costco and Sam’s Club have created a retail experience where customers feel like they have special access to unique in-and-out products and family-friendly bulk formats. Physical stores are simply designed and laid out, but always full of merchandise. There are no overt efforts to sell on the floor, but through vendor sampling at almost every turn, upsell opportunities convert easily into sales at the cash register. Club stores make most of their profits from membership fees, allowing them to offer “best value” pricing on merchandise. This perception of value and the excitement of the treasure hunt brings customers back again and again to load up their carts, regardless of the distance they have to drive.
Be A Specialist, Not A Generalist
While every big box hardware store carries paint as a core category, not every one knows how to sell it. Paint is an emotional consumer purchase. An individual’s self-esteem is tied to the colours they choose, and how their family and friends judge those choices. We have helped to create a shopping experience at Benjamin Moore retailers where customers feel heard, and where salespeople are trusted colour consultants who can help you make the right choices for paint and accessories. Staff are Benjamin Moore’s most valued asset. Customers are also able to have an interactive experience online where they can experiment with colours and take that positive interaction with them to a store when they feel more ready to purchase.
Every retailer yearns to be a destination store. A fun shopping experience, exceptional merchandising, unique retail concepts and specialty retailing will win over customers, but make sure they’re rooted in an authentic brand promise that is integrated through all customer touchpoints.