Like HOLM, Amazon knows that today’s physical store plays an entirely different role to its predecessors. ‘Bricks and Mortar’ stores no longer exist just to shift ‘product’. They are: marketing tools; customer experience hubs and brand beacons. Here’s what the rest of the retail industry can learn from the internet giant’s 4-star store launch.
1. Stores are marketing tools
Manhattan is the last place on earth that needs an Amazon retail store. The borough has a thriving online delivery culture – from the local grocery store to the nightly take outs from Seamless.com. In short, no time poor Upper West Sider is going to schlep down to SoHo to pick up an Amazon Echo that could just as easily be delivered to their doorman!
Of course Amazon knows this. The primary role of this store is a marketing tool that creates a physical touch point for the brand. A destination to convert customers to Prime sign-ups. For tourists per se and somewhere simply fun to check out and ‘discover new products’ if you’re passing by.
2. Data drives today’s retail store design
The retail store designers of yesteryear (we’re talking the Nineties and Noughties here) had a good idea of their target customer. They knew their gender, age and the sort of things they liked to buy. Amazon on the other hand, has…well…’Amazonian’ levels of customer data. This is at the very heart of the new store concept. Where everything for sale has already been rated 4 stars and above – by swathes of satisfied customers.
This allows Amazon to do things like transfer its algorithms to real life merchandising. If a customer picks up a Kindle, you can bet your life they’ll be a ‘frequently bought together’ case on the shelf next to it.
3. In-store tech lets staff focus on customers
Unencumbered with a legacy store portfolio, Amazon can roll out the latest in-store technology to free up sales assistants. As a result, they have more time to serve customers. Interestingly, the digital price tags in this 4-Star store, shows the Prime price and list price, as well as Prime member savings. Clever…
Customers who aren’t already Prime members can easily sign up for a free 30-day trial and instantly receive the discounted price in store. A move that neatly demonstrates point 1.) about the modern store’s role as a marketing tool.
4. Customers want to experience product
One of HOLM’s mantras is that customers need a reason to visit a physical store. The 4-Star store has a number of play tables where customers can ‘test drive’ dozens of Amazon devices and smart home accessories that work with Alexa. They can also try a curated selection of speakers, fitness tech, and other highly rated consumer electronics. We believe Amazon now realises its online channel cannot offer ‘real life’ interactive experience so makes up for it here.
Overlay that with helpful store staff who can give guidance and cement that relationship from the off. You will already know that if it’s too difficult to carry home, it can be delivered, possibly even before you get there. So not a bad service experience either…
5. Keep it fresh
We keep harping on about it, but customers really do need a reason to visit a physical shop. The 4-star store keeps things fresh with rotating daily deals. It also features a dedicated ‘Trending in NYC’ to give the store a more local feel. A sense of community is a growing trend we recognise and Amazon’s data can certainly commercially act upon. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is also a great footfall driver.
Which is one of the reasons why HOLM is launching a new (highly digital and data driven) fashion store concept within the UK in 2019. Much more detail on this to follow in a future blog. ;0)
HOLM’s in-store personal styling technology matches clothes to customers depending on their body shape (one of more than 4,000 body shapes for women alone, calculated by clever algorithms). Our USP is accurate recommendation from the off. Following a two-minute measuring process by your sales staff (theater – tick, customer service – tick), shoppers are presented with a ranking of garments guaranteed to make them look great, not simply fit.
The result? Delighted, loyal customers who promote their experience by word of mouth; a thriving bricks-and-mortar store and a customer profile (data set) that boosts sales across all channels. Happy and motivated staff too, hitting their targets using an application that’s been carefully designed for simplicity and ease of use (so training is minimal).