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Author
Cosima Schmitt
Published
14.06.2021
Category
Opinion

Retail. As easy as ever.

Multibrand sellers in brick and mortar suffer from less traffic each day and online retail is heavily influenced by large corporations such as Amazon, Google, or Facebook. Product centricity is no longer enough.

If a brand does not have personal interaction with their communities, long-term success cannot be guaranteed. That is why it has become even more important to seek personal relationships with customers. Ideally, in a brand space that makes them want to spend their precious free time in and get to know the assets and values of a company.

In online retail, brands have tremendous amounts of data about their consumers, such as their purchase history, their demographic and even their relationship status. But every new season is a gamble. Does the 32-year-old mom from Berlin even use the running shoes she bought in January? Why did she buy them from us in the first place? Will she shop with us again or even recommend the shoes to her friends?

Once listed at a traditional warehouse, products are stripped off their brand atmosphere and placed next to their competitors with nothing but the price to differentiate them. Now in this case the brand doesn’t even know the demographics of consumers. Why was the discount rate higher than last season? Are the running shoes placed correctly on the display? Did the sales assistant attend the latest coaching session and provide consumers with the information about the product innovation? In the following, I will briefly state why brand stores are the future.

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WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO A SUCCESSFUL LONG-TERM CONSUMER-BRAND-RELATIONSHIP?
We believe, that in addition to online retail a dedicated physical brand space is the way for consumers to experience personal contact with the brand. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that city centres are no longer a place for convenience. If we need something we buy it online. City centres have to transform to an environment for experiences and encounters. Not only with friends, family, and colleagues but also with brands and their ambassadors.

WHY SHOULD BRANDS INVEST INTO THEIR OWN PHYSICAL BRAND SPACE NOW?
We often get this question asked because stores are barely opening after the 16-month lockdown phase. With the vaccination process speeding up and cases going down, retail is coming back to life. Within our partner network the hottest locations are already being redistributed to the boldest brands and demand is rising every day. So now is still the time to be picky, to plan and get excited about a retail adventure with a strong partner. Additionally, the restrictions resulting from the pandemic have not destroyed but reinforced our deep desire for outstanding experiences. That is precisely why knowledge about consumers continues to be the currency that is critical to a brand’s success. We strongly believe that the Point-of-Sale (POS) must transform to the Point-of-Experience (POE) to remain competitive in the future.

BUT WHERE DO YOU EVEN START ONCE YOU MADE THE DECISION TO OPEN YOUR OWN BRICK AND MORTAR?
The path to physical retail is associated with major hurdles. High investment costs, additional personnel resources and a lack of know-how are often the reason own store formats fail. This is why our Retail-as- a-Service (RaaS) business model has been so successful within the last years. With our expertise we provide quick and easy access to a brand’s own physical POS with minimal risk.

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HOW DO WE IMPLEMENT RAAS IN PRACTICE?
It only takes three steps. It starts with the development of the appropriate retail strategy and the selection of the right locations and store formats for the brand. It goes on with the opening and operation of the brand‘s touch points with trained specialists while tracking of all common performance indicators. Finally, the collection, processing and evaluation of product feedback and consumer data at the POS including transaction analysis, consumer satisfaction measurement and forecasts of purchasing behavior gives us insights to learn and develop from.

SO, HOW DO WE GET THE 32-YEAR-OLD MOM FROM BERLIN TO SHOP AGAIN AT OUR NEW PHYSICAL BRAND SPACE?
By engaging her in a conversation about being active as a parent and by letting her explore the brand in a relaxed atmosphere at one of our touch points. Whether she buys something at the store or shops online a few days later is not important. It’s the fact that she will link the brand to a pleasant face-to-face experience and is less likely to shop somewhere else in the future.

About the Author
After her business studies in Munich and London, Cosima started her career in brick and mortar managing fashion warehouses in several cities in Germany. Her daily business at Avantgarde focuses on making retail experiences and consumer engagement a reality for brands. In her free time, she paints, plays golf, and enjoys hosting friends.

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