Over the past few months, I have shared key trends in retail including focusing on experiential offerings and pop-up shops that allow for incubating and testing new products or services in the marketplace.
On the experiential side, retailers that are having success are those that provide a unique experience for shoppers both online and in-store. This includes integrating the two sales channels where customers can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience is seamless – this is known as an Omni-channel experience. This also includes differentiating product offered online and instore and thereby driving traffic and sales in both areas.
While applying Omni-channel tactics we are also seeing retailers right-sizing and investing in smaller-format stores to accommodate consumer desire for more curated selections. A secondary approach is the shop-in-shop concept in which large format retailers are opening a portion of their floorplan to a secondary complimentary shop in the store. At The Bay Centre, you can see this at the Hudson’s Bay with their Coach shop and most recently their Olsen Europe shop on level two. Benefits to the shop-in-shop concept include shared operational costs, speed to market while capitalizing on the brand loyalty and existing clientele of the existing retailer. The shop-in-shop concept in a large format store is also easier for new brands looking to enter the market over opening an independent specialty retail store.
As shopping centre managers, we are always seeking the next big trend that resonates with guests. The key in retail is to offer an experience that is both unexpected and completes a need that customers are looking for. The shop-in-shop concept, if done well, can drive new footsteps and sales to traditional bricks and mortar retailers, assisting in staying relevant and competitive in a global shopping marketplace. Victoria is very fortunate to have so many entrepreneurs and great location to incubate new ideas and concepts and I look forward to seeing many more pop up this year.
Darlene Hollstein is the General Manager of The Bay Centre. thebaycentre.ca