A solid retail strategy demands a multichannel distribution
methodology to satisfy the right-this-minute needs of consumers. That simply cannot be achieved on the Internet alone—
rather, it requires a bricks-and-mortar experience that the
customer remembers. In my experience, brands that demonstrate an ability to nimbly navigate this brave new retail world
will be the ones that ultimately come out on top.
Consider the example of one of
my absolute favorite clients, Levi
The company introduced it in its completely reimagined
SoHo flagship in New York last fall, and we’ll launch it in the
still-under-development Times Square flagship later this year.
The Tailor Shop not only allows Levi’s to communicate directly
with customers in a real-time, tangible way, but it also gives customers a direct, creative stake in making the product their own.
They are selling industry experience, not just a denim jean.
They’re teaching their customers how to wash and care for the
jeans, how to pick a vintage and a rise and fit. It’s truly the
height of experiential retailing.
The concept embodies what I like to call “retailtainment”—a
unique fusion of shopping and entertainment that provides
customers with an unparalleled brand engagement experience
that’s much more than a mere shopping excursion. Retailers
that are most successful in this space are creating entire environments that revolve around who they are as a company and
what they stand for.
When you walk through the tunnel leading into Adidas’ Fifth
Avenue flagship in Midtown Manhattan—a concept inspired by
high school stadiums—you’re immediately greeted by a con-
cierge who will show you around the store and explain its ameni-
ties. You can test shoes on a track or turf, and if you need a
break, you can grab a smoothie from the store’s in-house juice
bar and take a seat on the bleachers and watch sports on one of
many oversized screens. The flagship also offers fitness consulta-
tions, jersey customization in real time, a Launch Zone and an
entire floor dedicated to youth apparel and shoes. Adidas has
nailed the concept of experiential retail with this approach,
which builds upon its culture of caring for the consumer, not
just the bottom line.
Brands like this are concerned with what’s meaningful and
significant to customers, and they seamlessly integrate the in-store shopping experience with e-commerce. You can go into
their store, try on the product and order it from an iPad in-store
if you don’t want to lug it with you. Staying in a hotel nearby?
They’ll deliver your customized merchandise that same day.
So, what’s the secret sauce? Stated simply, brands must generate unique experiences for customers that make them want
to return. They must offer something your friends don’t have
(but desperately want), or can’t get in a run-of-the-mill department store. They have to tell a story that entices consumers to
learn more and to engage on a deeper level than merely making a purchase. If you want repeat customers, it’s imperative to
create a desirable experience that leaves them wanting more
and does so in an authentic, relatable way that’s consistent with
your brand’s culture, values and mission.
Millennials and up-and-coming younger consumers crave
shared experiences, and they can see through a concept that’s
trying too hard to be disruptive merely for the sake of gaining
market share or maximizing profit. They want to know who you
are, what you stand for, and how you’ll deliver an experience
that’s pleasantly unexpected and memorable. Cultivating a solid,
curated brand experience that delivers strong face-to-face interactions between core customers and core products is critical, and
it engenders the kinds of compelling engagement that create
loyalty in a time of great customer distraction. ◆
The Secret Sauce to
A Solid Retail Strategy
Brands have to tell a story
that entices consumers to
learn more and to engage
on a deeper level than
merely making a purchase.
Laura Pomerantz is vice chairman and head of strategic accounts at
Cushman & Wakefield. The New York City-based agent was recently
ranked top retail broker for the Americas at the firm. She may be contacted
at Laura.Pomerantz@cushwake.com. The views expressed here are the
author’s own and do not reflect those of ALM Real Estate Media.
BY LAURA POMERANTZ