In a crowded market place Location and Visibility are key factors that play a significant role in driving footfalls and sales. With high space acquisition costs leading to compromised locations, retailers have thought up innovative location, store design and presentation strategies to influence sales and footfalls. Let’s look at some interesting testimonies that demonstrate this………………..read on.
Organized Retail in India is said to be on a growth path of 20% annually against the gravity of consistent reports of a looming global economic slump and depleting ‘customer sentiments’. In a highly competitve marketplace the first mile, aquiring footfalls of discerning customers, is covered through brand marketing that creates awareness through visibility and brand trial. Store location, which is key to visibility, could well determine the success or failure of a store - remember the cliched ‘three keys to success in retail – Location, Location and Location’? Unviable rentals have driven brands and retailers to think up alternate location strategies and one such successful strategy is ‘Out Posting’.
By definition an Outpost is ‘a small military camp or position at some distance from the main force, used especially as a guard against surprise attack’. Translated in retail, Outposts offer a sample taste of the brand experience of the main brand environment. Based on where the Outpost is located in relation to the main store it can be categorized as a Proximity Outpost or a Remote Outpost. A Proximity Outpost is placed in close proximity to the Main Store usually in the same shopping destination. A Remote Outpost is that which is placed in a distant oportunistic location, like in an airport or the atrium in a Mall where the Main store is absent. Both have similar objectives and with the use of Store Design and Presentation create a ‘chip of the whole block’ true samplers of the full brand experience. Some interesting examples caught my camera eye at different shopping destinations which demonstrate effective use of this strategy. Lets check them out…….
McDonald’s has always planted its golden arches in enviable prime retail locations across 33,000 restaurants in 118 countries serving more than 67 million customers worldwide each day. They are always present in high traffic public places like Malls, High Streets, Railway stations and Airports. However, there are some malls that insist that all food counters need to be present in the Food Court which is out of sight on the top floor. In a popular Mall in Delhi and Shanghai, where the main store was in the Food Court on the third floor, McDonald put an Proximity Outpost on the ground floor offering a menu of soft serves and cold beverages right in the midst of fashion brands with tremendous visibility that drove high impulse consumption.
BlackBerry, with a 3% market share of mobile device sales worldwide across 91 countries serving seventy million subscribers, has lately been under threat from many aggressive global brands that are offering very competitive products and services. Blackberry has also lately positioned itself, in their recent campaign ‘They are the Blackberry Boys’ as not just for the corportate world but for all young Indians. To optimize the engagement with their young target customer the brand has placed a Proximity Oupost in the ground floor atrium of a popular mall offering a selective assortment of handsets and information. The main store, with the full offering, is in the CDIT zone of the mall located out of sight on the 2nd floor.
Global Desi, a brand from the house of popular designer Anita Dongre, offers chic and Indo Western apparel in across over 22 stores in India. A Proximity Outpost created on the ground floor atrium of a popular mall in Mumbai with a group of mannequins, the brand’s signature graphics and a communication easel, showcases the brand’s newest collection available in the store right at the mall’s main entrance. Great location and thought but the execution, though neat and does the job it was meant to, ought to have been more attractive and dramatic in configuration and presentation to do justice to the popular fashion brand.
Kansas Brand Lee, from the portfolio of the largest apparel company in the world (VF Corporation), has taken the Proximity Outpost strategy to ‘stretch’ its store front in a popular Mall in Beijing. The mono-chromatic multilevel co-ordianted configuraton is visually dominant and eyecatching. The Out-post is in proximity to the store and helps extend the the fashion statement from inside the store onto the main aisle and visually and physically intercept shoppers going past the store and directing them into the store.
Tommy Hilfiger, the ‘Classic, American and Cool’ brand, is available in over 1000 select points of sale covering over 98 cities across India and is known as the country’s leading international lifestyle brand. Having built an aspirational positioning for itself in the market the brand is experiementing with Remote Outposts that offer its range of affordable fashion accessories to entice impulsive trial of the brand. Check-out the brand's Outpost at a popular mall in Mumbai, where it is absent as a store, and where its collection of personal accessories is presented in an over-the-counter format. One let down is that the presentation and design of the outpost doesn’t have the distinct Classic American signature of its store concept.
Californian brand Baskin & Robbins, the world's largest ice cream chain present in over 30 countries and with more than 400 locations in India is known for its "31 flavors" of icecreams. Its stores are usually sit-down parlors of over 400 to 1000 sq. ft. It’s Remote Outpost at Mumbai's Domestic Departure terminal has great sight lines of its distinctly Pink logo from the check-in counters. The 100 sq.ft. counter is designed as a neat scaled down version of its main store offering in terms of the store design and its selective offerings.
English brand The Body Shop which is now part of the L'Oréal Group, has 2400 stores in 61 countries which are usually about 300-400 sq. ft., carrying about 900 Beauty Product. The Remote Outpost at the same terminal carries a selection of best-sellers in a compact store with the store concept beautifully adapted to this compressed space of 150 sq.ft.
Each of these examples is a testimony to the effectiveness of Brand Outposts which, for main stores in compromised locations, positively influence sales and footfalls. This also clearly demonstrates that the art of Store Design and Presentation plays a significant role in creating a true ‘chip of the whole block’ and take the brand experience beyond the physical space of the main store to where customer traffic converges
In popular malls in Delhi and Shanghai, McDonald put an Outpost offering an impulse menu of ice-creams and cold beverages right in the midst of fashion brands on the ground floor to leverage the main store on the third floor of the same mall
Global Desi, a brand form the house of popular designer Anita Dongre, has a fashion outpost created with a group of mannequins on the ground floor atrium of a popular mall in Mumbai showcasing the store’s newest collection
To optimize the engagement of their brand with the target customer in places where they congregate, Blackberry has placed a Proximity Outpost in the ground floor atrium of the mall in which their main store is located out of sight on the 2nd floor
Brand Lee ‘s mono-chromatic multi-level Outpost is visually dominant and eye-catching and helps pull the fashion statement from inside the store onto the main aisle
The Body Shop Off-site Outpost carries a best-selling portion of this offering in a compact 150 sft store where store design and the product presentation is beautifully adapted
Tommy fashion accessories are presented in an Off-site Outpost in a mall that does not have their brand store and ensures brand awareness and trial
Baskin Robbins ‘ Off-site Outpost at Mumbai domestic departure has great sight lines of its distinctly Pink logo from the check-in counters