Retailers have had their fair share of woes over the last decade as they negotiate technology, new and disruptive businesses, and an ever changing political and economic situation. The bright side is that these challenges are driving incredible retail innovations that are leading to phenomenal customer experiences.
Retailers of all kinds are showing great agility as they focus on delivering customers a seamless on and offline experience. The retail store isn’t dead, it’s evolving, and it’s not just the hip, up and coming brands challenging the status quo.
There’s one retail innovation, although not novel, that has always captured the imagination of customers and that’s the ‘store within a store’ concept – think Timpson’s at Tesco – and it’s now being taken to a whole new level by retailers and this trend is set to continue.
For multiple reasons, ‘store within a store’ just works. For consumers it offers a wider selection of goods, access to challenger brands, exposure to new concepts, and the opportunity for multiple shopping experiences within a single destination. It delivers continued surprise and delight as they discover new and interesting things and get access to ‘exclusive’ in-store experiences, encouraging them to keep returning. For the retailer, income from subletting space and the potential to attract new audiences with a more diverse range of products.
The concept has continued to deliver growth for retailers and as they come under increasing revenue pressure, we’re seeing even more exciting retailer and brand collaborations. Some store within a store concepts have become so popular that they have become destinations in their own right for example, Argos within Sainsbury’s.
The one major challenge for a brand and the retailer that sets up a store within a store concept is marketing the collaboration so that people know it’s there. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic shift in the way consumers seek out information about a business: from desktop, to mobile, to voice search (now 20% of searches according to Google).
To accommodate this shift, search engines have moved towards mobile-friendly results across the board, favouring locally-optimised information determined by relevance, proximity and prominence. According to Google, nearly one third of all mobile searches are performed by people looking for businesses nearby. Of these local searches, 76% convert to a business visit within one day and 28% of those visits result in a purchase.
Digital knowledge is at the centre of this search ecosystem, powering results that provide consumers with useful information about the business. This can be particularly challenging if a store within a store has different opening or closing times from the store it’s housed within or wants to run and promote their own special event calendar. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than if the facts presented about the business are wrong or aren’t up to date.
In a survey Yext conducted among 2000 UK consumers, 80% said they had encountered incorrect online information about a business, and over half of them said it is not a rare occurrence. This information included data about opening hours, products and services, phone numbers, addresses and promotions—sourced by search engines and social networks from a myriad of online properties other than a brand’s website. The most worrying statistic is that nearly half of all consumers blame the business itself for data issues encountered in its online presence, affecting their reputation.
When it comes to retail, especially concepts like ‘store within a store’ the golden rule is to make it easy for people to find you. Establish a smart digital knowledge management strategy that gives you a vibrant and active presence across the whole digital ecosystem. This isn’t just Google and Facebook, you need to include Snapchat, Instagram, Uber, Bing, car GPS systems, maps, apps, Apple, Yelp etc.
Maintain and manage accurate business facts and attributes from opening hours to special events, deploy rich localised content and implement a consumer review strategy which includes brand, product and location reviews right down to an individual location level. If you build and maintain it, then they will come.
Jon Buss is managing director UK and Northern Europe at Yext.