The simple truth of a successful and thriving retail destination is that you need the right assortment of shops and you need each one to be as good as it possibly can be.
It doesn’t take the proverbial brain surgeon but it does take a meeting of commercial minds, and the work of many hands to transform a simple theoretical plan into a living, breathing physical space.
This process of many actions must be separated into two fundamental stages.
The first stage provides the strategic and commercial plan for any retail destination, and should involve an appraisal of the immediate retail opportunities, the market size and demographics, the local and regional competition and finally the quality, quantity and relevance of the current retail offer.
The process is a replication of that which might be carried out for a shopping centre, or a single multi-category store, except that here we are talking about the inherent complexities of dealing with many individual businesses as one retail destination.
The output for a retail location analysis must of course be quantitative but in today’s transient and traditional market it must also be qualitative.
Our strategic plan must not only to answer the question “What should we be?” but also “Who should we be?”
Our plan must give us the blueprint for how many shops, how big and how varied their sizes should be, their ideal clustering to create both powerful destinations as well as attractive diversions. We need to have clear what categories of products our store assortment should sell, what types of retailer should sell these categories – from international brands and recognised multiples to local destinations and idiosyncratic independents. Finally we must build into this matrix a strategy for price, for value, for lifestyle positioning – traditional, contemporary and trend – and we must define that most indefinable of things – “taste.”
Ultimately the “taste” of our offer will be as important to our commercial success as our tangible assets, for whilst having the correct offer is the foundation of our opportunity it will be the emotional connection that will ultimately pump the commercial lifeblood through the arteries and streets of our particular retail proposition.
Even the correct plan is only half the battle for winning the hearts & minds of the customer. Strategic foundations on their own can still deliver lifeless and soulless entities on the empty pavements above.
And so to populating our strategic plan with shops as “good as they possibly can be!”
Whilst the propositions of every retailer should be distinct and complementary they must all be built on best practice commercial principles across the many disciplines that go together to make a successful retail business.
Buying & merchandising must deliver product assortments of value and fascination; store space planning must deliver capacities which guarantee the possibility to generate required revenues; store layouts must protect customer ease of shop yet create interest and exploration; store design must be attractive and appropriate; visual merchandising must display exciting and commercial product stories; marketing must communicate emotional engagement, building and maintaining loyal customer groups; and critically retail operations must maximise efficiencies, reduce expenses and contribute to the final profit success of any retail enterprise.
Whilst these skills and disciplines exist in seasoned retail powerhouses, they may be lacking in entirety or in some specifics for those essential local chains and independents that are so critical to creating the distinct and attractive proposition of any retail destinations.
So together, strategy and best practice retail delivery can produce exceptional groups of stores and drive the renaissance of town centres and traditional shopping destinations.
“Knowing what to do” and “Knowing how to do it” have become as much the prerogative of high streets, town centres and city retail destinations as individual retailers themselves.
What is the correct commercial proposition for you as a retail and social destination?
What combination of retail stores, sizes, categories, price-points and tastes do you need?
What level of professional retail skills do your retailers have?
What support do you provide to evolve traditional independents into local destination retailers?
Let VM-unleashed help you realise your new horizons…
”Shopportunities!” is a retail location strategic process that not only benchmarks destinations from a quantitative perspective such as the number and type of shops but also from a qualitative viewpoint defining the taste, lifestyle positions and emotional propositions of both individual retailers and for a destination as a whole.
Take a closer look at…
”One Shop at a Time!”” is a practical support service for individual and groups of retailers to develop them as best practice, commercially successful retailers through the introduction of correct processes and principles across essential functions, with ongoing support and training to maintain the highest commercial standards.
Take a closer look at…