Lifestyle Retailing for Entrepreneurial Retailers
How is it that retailers like Urban Outfitters, Anthropology, The Buckle, Aeropostale and Hot Topic appear to be in a position to defy gravity? In the last numerous quarters, every of these retailers have quite constructive posted benefits in an environment exactly where extremely few publicly traded retailers posted a comp retailer boost of any variety. How are these shops in a position to do what seemingly no one else can, especially in the specialty retailer segment?
Every single of these stores is testament to the truth that a sturdy, focused retailer can succeed spectacularly even in the toughest of financial times. Take Urban Outfitters Inc, which operates Urban Outfitters and Anthropology. Richard Hayne, founder and chairman of the firm, has been broadly quoted for his belief that “big is the enemy of cool”, and several observers have pointed out that the organization would rather open a new concept in established markets than saturate every single final retail corner with new merchants. They go on to note that no two shops are alike, that each and every shop is provided a great deal of autonomy, and that the company spots a premium on execution.
All of these are useful points to take away from the story, but there’s an additional lesson to be drawn that is particularly applicable for any modest, entrepreneurial retailer developing a successful, sustainable technique into the future.
Walk into an Urban Outfitters or an Anthropology retailer and you instantly sense that there’s a thing extremely diverse going on there. They are selling apparel and accessories, that’s clear as soon as you stroll in the door, but there is also home furnishings and décor, as effectively as books and knick-knacks, even furniture right here and there. Then you discover the store layout, fixturing and décor, the salespeople and the customers… the buyers. The clients are the giveaway to this story. This retailer is not so considerably about stuff as it is about a mindset, an attitude, a lifestyle.
Building a retailer all around an attitude or a lifestyle is not necessarily new, but seldom has it been carried out on the scale and with the impact that you encounter when you stroll into these stores. Here you can glimpse the future of retailing in a niche driven, Long Tail planet, and in these shops you can immediately grasp the immense prospective for small entrepreneurial retailers to extend these ideas all around their very own specific niche and approach. It’s been known as way of life retailing. In simple fact, the quite ideal small entrepreneurial retailers have been practicing lifestyle retailing for years.
Life-style retailing starts from a completely distinct premise than classic retailing. It might appear like a bit of a cliché to say that life-style retailing is customer-centric, but, as you see when you walk into an Urban Outfitters or an Anthropology store, that actually is the differentiating characteristic.
Traditional retailing begins with the products and solutions to be provided. This could be the outcome of an entrepreneur’s specific item knowledge, probably an entrepreneur’s background in a quite certain industry. It is product driven, and asks the query, “This is what we sell, who can we sell it to?” Growth is often defined as expanding the consumer base, reaching a broader audience, discovering more clients to sell to, and is measured most directly by transaction counts.
Way of life retailing begins with the attitude and lifestyle itself, and all that it represents. It is, by definition, narrow and unique, focused on a quite plainly defined niche. It is buyer driven, focused on a narrowly defined consumer who identifies with the attitude and lifestyle, and aspires to be a portion of it. It begins with the query, “These are our clients, what can we supply them that fully represent the life-style they aspire to?” Growth is achieved by offering these customers a broad array of offerings, in an almost infinite achievable number of categories, and is measured most immediately by units per transaction.
In lifestyle retailing, the physical store itself most directly defines the life style, in its décor and ambiance. The retailer is special, distinctive and conceptual. It is not merely a presentation of merchandise, it is a meticulously regarded synergy of space, materials, textures, colors, sounds, and aromas meant to excite the senses. Stepping into the shop is to fully immerse oneself in the life-style, to knowledge the lifestyle and all that it represents.
The salespeople extend the knowledge, with their understanding, interest and enthusiasm, in the extremely way that they engage their guests. They are actors on a stage, except this is not acting for them this is real life. Their dress, hair, manner, speech and vocabulary are an integral portion of the experience, for they are the really embodiment of the way of life. They interact with customers as they would with intimates, for to be part of the lifestyle is deeply personal. Their buyers are portion of the group, in a profoundly sociological way.
And inside this context, company is transacted. Price is not practically as important an issue as in other retail tactics, due to the fact consumers aren’t simply getting merchandise, they’re participating in the community, in the way of life. Assortments are frequently broad and shallow rather than narrow and deep simply because the life style is the driver, and new items are the essential to frequent visits and units per transaction. The merchandise itself may possibly seem to be highly discretionary, but in simple fact is as essential as bread and milk simply because it is so closely linked to the customer’s sense of identity. It is, by definition, a fashion company.
As the retail landscape fragments amongst big-scale corporate retailing descending further into value-driven commoditization of mass marketplace merchandise, and each and every consumer’s desire for items they treasure as a reflection of their individual interests, life-style and identity, the chance for entrepreneurial retailers is clear. A retail strategy built and marketed passionately about a personally held, plainly defined life-style or interest is the path to constructing a strong retail presence and a extremely productive company.