By Josh Strutt
Associate Director – Performance, Retail Doctor Group

The Brand Experience In-store

Retailers with value-creation mindsets are true challenger brands and provide customers with an experience that takes them way beyond the “seen it all before” feeling customers are currently experiencing in so many retail stores.

Australian Geographic Retail is one example of an Australian retailer who has re-imagined the brand in-store. Its ability to combine “an experience” with the navigation and merchandising to solve customers’ problems makes it a leading retailer in its category.  As Brent Dowsett, Managing Director of Australian Geographic Retail commented: “Our entire Australian Geographic Retail business is based around value creation for our customers and we start by providing them with an incredible and unique multi-sensory experience when they walk into the stores.

We focus on trying to find products they can’t buy anywhere else and make sure that everything in the store has a purpose from fun to education. Every person walking through our door has a ‘problem’ they are looking to solve whether it’s a gift for any age group; a purchase for themselves or an unusual piece for their homes. Our job with value creation is to match our products to their needs and solve the problem for them. We’ll show them how products work and let them test and play with them. We also highly value their feedback as we want them to return again and again.”

Predicting and Anticipating Your Customer Needs

The ability to re-think your entire brand experience in-store comes from understanding what motivates your customers. As Ron Johnson so succinctly put it, “You can’t follow the customer. You’ve got to lead your customers – anticipate their needs and meet those needs, even before they know what they want”. Predicting and anticipating their needs requires you to have a deep understanding of not only who your customers are; but also what motivates them and how they interact with your brand.

Creating new types of value is all about solving your customers’ problems and having the imagination to provide an experience beyond the products you sell. It is a powerful tool, therefore, when you understand how to communicate with your customers at the subconscious level including such detail as which visual merchandising techniques will drive them to engage with your products in-store and then purchase them.

Physical stores remain the main point of contact with customers and as Ron Johnson so rightly summed it up, “The only way to really build a relationship is face-to face. That’s human nature. That gets at the essence of what retail stores have to be about”.

By taking a look at your entire brand from the value-creation point of view, you have the ability to turn your stores into rich destinations filled with customer-solutions focussed experiences, thus becoming a ‘fitter’ and more profitable retailer.

Happy fit retailing.

Our Performance team can give you more tips to be the best of the best in your industry. For more on Retail Doctor Group’s retail consultant services driven by our ‘Fit for Business Fitness™” programs, email or phone 02 9460 2882.