While its nautical origins go some way to define the historical presence and positioning of the flagship store within a company’s retail portfolio, in today’s experience economy the role, and success of the flagship can no longer be successfully quantified in terms of scale, footfall or commerciality alone.
As on and off-line channels continue to converge, these prime spaces need to be more effective in creating new dimensions of physicality and immersive experiences that serve to support the unpredictability of the modern customer journey, and also measured on their attribute to a brand’s overall commercial ecosystem.
We believe there are 7 essential principles that need to be considered in creating a competitive positioning for your flagship store environment.
‘Think second, feel first’. Guide your customers through an environment of emotional intrigue, rather than rational information.
Why? The emotional part of our brain processes information one fifth quicker than the cognitive part, so multi-sensory engagement is key to lasting impressions.*
* Source: Fabrik- the power of emotional marketing June 2018
Reducing friction where possible is important, especially in understanding your customers differing states-of-mind and retail missions, however don’t underestimate the importance of human interaction.
Why? Human experience and fulfilment remain central to any successful retail activation strategy. Digital interactions should serve to enhance our lives by saving us time to experience the things we love however, they should never replace honest, authentic, real-life human experiences that fulfil us on an emotional level.
Particularly when faced with tough competition, customers look for a deeper level of meaning from their relationships with brands.
Why? Humans store brand personality in the same part of the brain as they do people. By creating meaning that is both congruent with your brand values and that support your customers’ needs and aspirations, connections can be created beyond product sales.
With the ability to purchase product anytime from any location, flagship retailing needs to create and demonstrate the extra-factor.
Why? While the customer journey may not necessarily end with an in-store purchase, the ability to see, touch and ‘try-before-they-buy’ still ranks high amongst brick-and-mortar visitors. with 62% of shoppers wanting to kick the tires, retailers must take full advantage and up their game to create compelling in-store shopping experiences.*
Customers don’t always want to spend extra ‘added value’ time in store – sometimes the best way of showing your customers that you appreciate them is delivering what they want with as little friction as possible.
Why? Whether a mission of convenience, or self-indulgence, your flagship environment needs to work to facilitate differing customer journeys. Think about how and where your store environment supports these different interactions (a faulty product return perhaps) and customer mindsets.
To build and maintain relationships, customers want to know that you can deliver services and products which show empathy for them and their lifestyles.
Why? Part of a successful flagship experience still lies in the ability to surprise and delight your visitors. Tactically curate offerings that focus on the right product mix – creating a lifestyle experience that aligns to their values, and ever-changing needs. Do this well and you will have a friend for life.
If you operate in a sector that is moving at a rapid rate, both socially and technologically, your customer’s expectations of retail experiences are changing equally rapidly – spurred through their interactions with e-commerce platforms – this responsiveness needs to be reflected in your store behaviour strategy.
Why? More and more, agility is defining a new type of flagship experience for customers, manifesting in stores that are informed and fed from by online purchase data to create stores that cater specifically to regional trends and sociographics. The result – a customer experience that not only supports the omni-channel nature of retail but flexes it to better align to customer needs.
Green Room is a human experience design studio that enriches people’s lives. By combining physical, digital and communications, we produce seamless multi-channel solutions that connect through the senses, fulfilling the emotional needs of the customer and the commercial needs of brands.
Our experience has seen us deliver concepts and immersive experiences for some of the world’s best loved brands. Why not contact us today to talk about your next challenge?