Footwear specialists are facing increased competition from supermarkets, clothing chains and department stores. Brands and retailers succeed in this sector will be the ones that create unique and valuable customer experiences and retail destinations.
The footwear market is forecast to grow by 11% over the next five years (Mintel), so we take a look at what specialist footwear brands can do to stand out from the crowd.
Millennials (people aged 18-34) are becoming increasingly obsessed with their footwear and having the latest and coolest brands. Retailers should look to create ‘cool’ retail experiences to immerse consumers in their brands. For the Nike SB store in Carnaby Street, we made sure that the customer journey was considered throughout the store and that it reflected the brand’s personality.
To give customers that extra service, many footwear specialists are incorporating technology in-store through the use of 3D foot scanning to provide consumers with made-to-measure footwear. Sports footwear specialist, ASICS, have introduced a 3D mapping system linked to gait analysis, which provides their customers with recommendations for the best fitting shoes. Creating a personalised experience makes consumers feel valued and therefore more likely to remain loyal to that brand.
Customisation is key
With the growing trend in ownership and personalisation, retailers are offering customisation services in-store. These activation areas create a sense of playfulness whilst fulfilling customer’s desire for a unique product. We worked with Converse to develop a flagship store in Carnaby Street that featured a customisation station which helped increase dwell time in-store.
Items of footwear are often iconic and seen as pieces of art; retailers can take inspiration from art to create unique displays that are visually appealing and even become a feature within the store. For the Pro-Direct store, which sells all the latest football boots, we created a glass monolith of football boots the height of the staircase, which is full of signed or iconic football boots. Not only does this have a striking visual impact, it is a talking point for the store and visitors to the store are encouraged to have their photograph taken by it.
To survive in the competitive footwear marketplace, specialist footwear retailers need to up their game and deliver immersive, shareable experiences for their consumers. Customisation and striking displays can all help to drive additional sales and generate brand awareness.