It should offer interaction, innovation and, most of all, it should provide the perfect platform from which the brand can build a connection with their consumer.
Taking that into consideration, Friday’s team trip to London posed as the perfect opportunity to embark on a Retail Safari at the home of the flagship store – Oxford Street. As one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets, we were after a retail experience with a difference.
Tailored to fit
Our first stop was Nike Town. With our consumer hats on, Nike encouraged interaction from the get go. The store took the act of buying some new trainers and turned it into an art – you could design your own pair, you could test them out in an astroturfed football zone, you could try them on running machines and you could even check out a detailed display of exactly how they were made. If you didn’t enter the store as a fan of Nike, you were definitely going to be leaving as one. We left feeling immersed in the brand, as their offering of the ultimate retail experience proved to be a success.
Shopping with a little bit extra
Another particularly standout store was Topshop. Their Oxford Street flagship offered a distinctly different merchandise mix that took your usual retail experience and added a whole lot of extra. When a store has a map for you to pick up on entry, you know that it’s not your average shop. Topshop had clearly thought about who they were targeting – with an in-store hairdressers, a nail bar and an Eat café you certainly didn’t feel that the shop was lacking something. Their retail space on Oxford Street was huge, yet they successfully managed to fill every corner with something encapsulating and offered a highly enjoyable shopping experience.
The art of heritage
What better way to connect with your consumer than by taking them on a journey? And John Lewis did exactly that, with the imminent celebration of their 150th birthday they decided that their flagship on Oxford Street was the perfect location to offer a walk back in time. Hidden at the back of the third floor we discovered an old John Lewis shop front, and once we stepped in we were educated on everything John Lewis – from the initial idea to the incredibly successful department store that they’ve become today. Showing the development of their logo, the origin of their strapline and their view of the future – the exhibition did more than offer a bit of history, it built a sense of heritage and trust between consumer and brand. Their success story was emotive and evocative, it created a sense of pride and brought something enriching to the retail experience. Again, the London flagship embodied the brand and gave us more than we’d been expecting.
Overall, we found ourselves after a distinctly different shopping experience. Oxford Street is visited by millions from all over the world, and consequently the consumer expects a retail experience with something extra. Oxford Street isn’t about convenience, it’s a destination and as a result shoppers have certain expectations that brands need to exceed in order to succeed.
Whether it’s designing our trainers, or going in to Topshop for a dress and coming out with a new hair-do, we want something to talk to our friends about. The flagship retail experience – it needs to create interaction, it needs to build on relationships with consumers, and it needs to impress.
If you would like to find out more about our Retail Safaris, call us on 0161 872 7813
Retail Safari – Oxford Road Team
Sarah Pyatt, Account Executive
Jemma Connor – Account Manager
Mark Griffiths – Studio Manager
Sue Benson – Managing Director