Can you show me a variety of examples of retail strategy brand architectures or retail strategy frameworks.
Hello! Thanks for your question about examples of retail strategy brand architectures and frameworks. I looked at a number of case studies and have included an overview of common trends I discovered, as well as individual briefs on the frameworks of Apple, IKEA, Warby Parker, Hay, Nordstrom, and STORY in my findings below.
Overall, luxury retailers are looking to redefine the traditional retail experience by looking to differentiate real-life retail from online by creating well-rounded experiences -- places you can spend the day, not just shop. This is similar to Apple's concept of mixing instruction and services with their retail approach to generate a sense of family. Ultimately, the brands listed below all seem to focus around creating a specific experience (based on their target market) in their retail spaces, rather than focusing solely on the products themselves.
Technological opportunities are also pushing brands to re-imagine the customer's retail experience with a focus on generating customer engagement. While IoT technology creates the opportunity for brands to optimize their businesses with machine learning, personalization and providing a unique customer experience both online and in retail stores is coming to the forefront of retail trends. With increasingly visual social media, creating opportunities for "picture moments" is also a driving trend among retailers.
Apple's innovation in the retail experience incorporated alternative uses not traditionally related to selling in their retail store, treating it more as a "program" than a store. Each store section was divided into task-oriented stations, including the Genius bar, kids area, and a theater to host free free learning events. Even the design of their products is focused around making everything simple to the user in a beautiful way, understanding that if the customer knows how to use it, they will. They also enhance the customer experience by utilizing service and knowledge to compliment their products, also creating brand loyalty in the process. This was a unique experience that other retailers have tried to duplicate. With this approach, customers interact with the brand on a variety of levels, including but not limited to:
-Accessibility and interaction with products
-Personalized shopping and assistance
-Participation in events
-Informal engagement in technology as an educational and/or social opportunity
Customers interact directly with the product, which enhances Apple's space occupancy and static relationships. Similarly, the overall openness of the spacial design gives customers the ability to be aware of both product locations and other customers in the store, which creates an "Apple community" within the store. It has the feel of a hive, with a plethora of random movements and encounters, creating an automatically social experience. Perhaps the most important advance that Apple made in creating this hive-like space was when they eliminated dedicated cashier stations for mobile options. This freed up employees to each be responsible for the full customer experience of one customer, and actually resulted in a more balanced distribution of people within the store.
Overall, Apple's primary strategy characteristic is to make customers feel like they are "part of the family." They do this by creating a "stimulating, no pressure environment" that highlights an inclusive community that's both enthusiastic about technology and knowledgeable about what good technology should look and feel like in the context of customers' lives.
IKEA also utilizes spacial relationships to deliver their brand strategy. All IKEA products are designed with 5 concepts in mind:
The retail space then takes the product and simulates how that product would be integrated into real-life spaces, centered around their target market of creating budget-friendly, space-saving solutions. They have a plethora of "add-ons" as well, so that consumers can constantly improve their spaces. This creates relevance for their customers and ultimately shortens the retail decisions customers make because they can see the products in context. They have a higher focus on space organization than some of their competitors. The path through their store allows customers to discover "how to create comfort and a sense of organization - despite ever diminishing space." Therefore, the customers are not only looking at products, but at the experiences created in using IKEA products.
Warby Parker has created success in their retail experience through the use of 5 key concepts:
-Getting the Entrance Experience right.
-Intentionally designing the customer experience.
-Hiring personable staff and training them how to interact with customers the "right" way.
-Utilizing technology to streamline the customer experience, rather than overwhelming it.
-Avoid letting money break the magic of the customer experience
Like Apple and IKEA, Warby Parker makes the customer's experience, rather than the product, the center of its retail strategy. They want to hire people that customers will enjoy interacting with. They want to make sure the experience customers are exposed to within the store enhance the "enchantment" of the customer. One of the specific spacial designs they did was making sure every frame displayed on the left wall is also displayed on the right. That way, customers don't have to pester each other to try on the same pair of glasses. They sacrificed 50% of their prime display real estate in order to do so, but the resulting positive experiences of their customers has backed up the decision to do so.
Similar to Apple, Warby Parker filters all their sales transactions through mobile tablets equipped to every sales associate. This makes the sales transaction unobtrusive to the customer. Warby Parker also prides itself on only including technology in their stores that benefits their customers, not their brand.
Hay's most interesting retail concept would include their "Mini Market" or shop-within-a-shop concept. They highlight that this experience is about making "quiet, ordinary moments a bit nicer," which drives most of their business design. They work to create a customer experience of making "aesthetically aspirational" furniture more attainable for their customers. They do this work with innovative materials and clever production methods to keep prices moderate, but again, their model is all about putting their products into context for their customers. NORDSTROM
Nordstrom maintains retail success because of a more timeless strategy of customer service, which they create by carefully hiring and empowering employees with a strong company culture. However, their continued success has relied on personalizing the customer experience -- allowing them to shop how, when, and where they want. Whether it's in Nordstrom, one of their off-price stores, or online, it's the customer's choice. They have them all, and they choose not to drive their customers to only the highest profit margin avenues. They empower their customers to choose their own experience. They create success simply by listening to what their customers want.
Not only have they created multiple experiences for their customers to choose from, but they have embraced Omnichannel so they can shop across brands with the same account. In addition to having multiple stores and online experiences, they have added a variety of ways to shop, including, but not limited to:
-Shipping in-store purchases directly to a customer's home
-Making curated purchases via text
-Shopping via mobile app
Customers are empowered to shop the way that works for them, often using multiple ways in the same experience.
While STORY is not as big as the other brands mentioned, they are doing some interesting things with their brand strategy that deemed them worthy of inclusion in this research. Rachel Shechtman, founder and CEO, has created "a highly successful retail concept that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like an art gallery, and sells things like a store." The experience in STORY is as much about the narrative and community as it is about the end product. In fact, they completely re-invent themselves every three to eight weeks to reflect new themes, trends or issues. This helps them create surprise and delight in every square foot, an entirely new experience for customers. Quite literally, a customer can have a new experience every time they enter the store.
STORY also relies on strategic partnerships to create specific customer experiences with each "STORY." Each STORY also has a distinct scent that goes along with it, that aligns with the distinct point of view of the iteration. The CEO firmly believes that the future of retail lies in entertainment and community, which is what she aims to create with each iteration of STORY.
To wrap it up, successful companies are capitalizing on experiences and communities, rather than products. Each company had a specific strategy to approach this experience for their customers, but creating a customer-driven experience was the common denominator. Thank you for using Wonder! Please let us know if we can help with anything else!