Big Stores Have a Lot to Offer
Retail niching is super powerful there’s no doubt. However, what we are debating here is not a niche retailer versus a department type store, but rather a small footprint store versus a big store. While a niched retailer can boast a targeted product line, which allows a retailer to have a very specific message that resonates with their customers, don’t count out big stores. They have a lot going for them from a retail perspective.
Space to Engage Consumers
Larger stores are a perfect environment for gathering, engaging and connecting with your very best customers. While it’s easy to fixate on overheads, we don’t hear enough about the unprecedented advantage of having the physical space to entertain and build customer communities. I just don’t see retailers taking advantage of the amazing space they have to create wonderful experiences in. Some of these smaller stores, while they have the advantage of a niching audience, they don’t have that big space to bring a lot of people together. If they do, it starts inhibiting the retail trade, so to speak.
Big Stores Have Physical Foot Traffic and Digital Presence
Big stores have a huge advantage just from the standpoint of foot traffic. Physically and digitally they have bigger databases and more people coming through their doors. It’s a whole machine. So they already, have a captured audience for in-store events and experiences which are a win for these bigger stores. Also, bigger stores have more data and a sophisticated CRM system so they can track consumer product preferences and customer values which gives them little bits of intel on their customers. For a company wanting to really get that deep engagement with their customer, that’s gold. They have the ability to pull out those little bits of information telling them what are the most popular events or how to solve some meaningful problems for their customers. A lot of these smaller niching retailers might not have as much of that to go on.
A Large Range of Products is Good
The other thing which may seem a bit counterintuitive, but having a big range of products doesn’t mean that you can’t build stories throughout your retail store. Lots of stores will have particular end caps in areas that might be more conducive to having an experience or an event in. Rather than thinking about the range as scatterbrain type thing, think about gathering those areas and utilising them to build stories. Maybe one month, you do a story or event on cooking. Then, the next time, you do an event on technology or whatever the range is in the retail store. I think they have a distinct advantage by having more to choose from; there’s a bigger number of people coming through to look at all those different brands and what they can bring to the consumer.