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Sam Langley-Swain, Strategy Director

When brands are looking for flexible retail solutions that enable them to experiment with their retail touchpoints, concession stores are often the ideal solution.

Whether a temporary activation or permanent space; concessions within another store allow retailers to engage with new shoppers, experiment with launching in new markets, and make a buzz within a high footfall location.

For up-and-coming brands through to household names, concessions are a smart solution. But how can brands maximise the success of these spaces? What are the secrets to a successful concession store?

1. Location

Location covers two areas:

  • The ‘host’ venue itself e.g. department store, airport, etc.
  • The concession is within a venue

It is important that both are considered and decided upon carefully.

Take our concession design project for Nobis as an example:

  • The Canadian fashion retailer required a high footfall, big-name location to enter the UK market. The brand had been given the chance to retail within Harrods, which is a prime location for any company.
  • The location within the venue, though, needed to be something spectacular. Nobis needed to stand out in the busy store, and make the most of the high footfall. We settled on a location by the elevators to deliver maximum disruption and totally immerse customers.

Retailers should look at how they too, can maximise both elements of the location to ensure their concession space performs commercially.

Nobis concession - Green Room

2. Design

In a busy environment such as an airport departures lounge or concessions floor in a department store, it can be nearly impossible for even the biggest of brands to make a splash. In retail concessions – maybe more so than any other retail touchpoint – creative design matters.

We already know that design drive brands perform better commercially, so it’s important for brands to consider design in competitive environments.

Even with limited space, brands can still stand out. Take our concession design for Oakley. The space within Ellis Brigham stores was limited, but we still wanted to ensure customers noticed the display. Striking floor graphics, black branded product displays, and a central floor location made sure that Oakley’s stood out in the store; despite not taking up a huge amount of floor space.

Oakley Ellis Bringham concession - Green Room

3. Branding

Our third secret to successful retail concessions lies in the branding of the space.

Airports and department stores are busy, crowded environments. With a wealth of brands competing for passing customers – and their hard-earned cash – it is vital that vendors carefully consider branding in their concession store design.

We have previously talked about the importance of branding in the customer journey and this applies to concession spaces. Customers will always look for brands they recognise when in these busy environments. Those companies that are quickly recognised and make a point of incorporating the brand into their design will be able to maximise their footfall and the presence of their concession.

4. Customer Engagement

At a time when multichannel retailing is King, concession spaces need to look outside the proverbial box when it comes to customer engagement. For example; will high-tech integration work well within the space, or would sofas be a better way to encourage shoppers to dwell?

Brands need to consider design elements that will enable customer engagement, but shouldn’t neglect pure customer service. Well trained, friendly staff really can make the difference between making and breaking a sale.

5. Products

Often, the primary goal of a concession space is to promote a particular product line.

We have worked on two such concession spaces for Nike: the Young Athletes and NSW concessions. Even though they are situated within a part of the Nike retail estate (Niketown London), they showcase the importance of highlighting key products within the space.

For other occasions where selling a specific product line isn’t the goal, it is still important to have a great range of products on display. Customers need to be engaged by what they see and encouraged to browse displays. Great products and merchandising – are a simple secret, but one that should be remembered.

6. Differentiation

The sixth secret to successful retail concessions is to ensure some level of differentiation from the existing retail estate. That could be a new customer experience, a new product line, or a new location. The secret here is striking the perfect balance between the expected and the unexpected.

7. Exclusivity

Our final secret for seriously successful concession stores is to offer customers something they can’t get elsewhere.

Nothing drives sales like exclusivity and urgency; something that is easily created in a concession environment. For example; the pop-up store we designed for The Body Shop offered customers a discount coupon to spend after the event.

The Body Shop Goodwood Pop Up - Green Room

This kind of exclusive offer drives footfall, brand engagement and encourages shoppers to spend their money. Whether it is a one-off product, one-time freebie, or too-good-too-miss discount; exclusive offers are a great way to enhance a retail concession.


At Green Room, we specialise in the design, development, and delivery of exciting, innovative and immersive concession spaces for global brands. Our experience has seen us deliver creative concepts that drive footfall and boost sales. Why not contact us today to talk about your next retail project.