I feel like sometimes the retail sector is caught in a loop. Everyone in this sector wants to secure their business’ future, and most of us realise that requires making life as good as possible for our customers.
Naturally, how that is done differs for different people. Stores want to introduce new and successful brands and concepts which create excitement and appeal for shoppers. Brands usually demand space and flexibility to bring their story to life and engage consumers with their products.
Stores want to introduce new and successful brands and concepts which create excitement and appeal for shoppers, while brands usually demand space and flexibility to bring their story to life and engage consumers with their products
Today, I want to step away from the endless discussion of this problem and look properly at what is, to me, a very simple solution. Shop-in-shops and pop-up stores hold the key to unlocking the next level of potential in physical retail. In fact, I do not think this will come as a huge revelation to a lot of you. Both of these retail concepts are proven and dynamic drivers of growth already in the retail sector; but I believe both have potential to increase and drive sales much, much more.
I have spoken about pop-ups and the possibilities they create in the past, but in settings where retailers are constrained by space and walls, they are the perfect solution to boring multi-brand concepts which are dull for shoppers and futile for brands.
A well-executed pop-up or shop-in-shop offers a great experience to shoppers and creates differentiation and engagement in the store. They provide a reason to visit and create a platform for both new brands to establish their story or new products to be brought to life.
This is something which the travel retail market especially should be looking very closely at. The open multi-brand set-up of many major duty-free stores is ripe for these concepts. Rather than endless shelves with small signs and a few, scattered wall displays, let us create engaging malls and thoroughfares populated by platforms, each one offering a unique, bespoke and different experience.
A well-executed shop-in-shop offers a great experience to shoppers and creates differentiation and engagement in the store, creating both a reason to visit and a platform for both new brands and new products to be brought to life
This is not just a theory. The United States, which is proving an excellent retail guide market in the wake of the pandemic, has shown the success that shop-in-shops can bring and enjoy. Recently, Walmart set up Space NK beauty stores in 50 of its outlets around the country. While it may not initially have seemed an obvious market, it has had the effect of driving basket size and footfall, as shoppers seeking the Space NK store browse the wider offer.
Similar results have been seen in Target, which launched Ulta beauty stores, and Macy’s which revived Toys R Us with a series of shop-in-shop outlets. These stores are a brilliant way to bring together two concepts or markets that do not normally stand side by side, and create something special for shoppers.
Doing so is a win-win: the brands get shoppers and the stores get footfall and novelty in their offer.
The key difference is that pop-ups and shop-in-shops are so much more than just signs and shelves. They must be crafted by the brand and for the setting. They are an extension of the brand experience brought to life. This approach creates excitement for shoppers and generates a buzz in the store.
This is a win-win: the brands get shoppers and the stores get footfall and novelty in their offer
This idea is invaluable to physical retail as a whole and it is one which we should all be looking very seriously at. Done well, these shop-in-shop stores are something which make customers stop and get engaged. That is the best way to break the loop.